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CPS 'raising its game' over female genital mutilation

The director of public prosecutions has insisted the Crown Prosecution Service is "raising its game" over prosecution against female genital mutilation.

Alison Saunders told The TImes the CPS is "stepping up" what they are doing, including looking at evidence secured by covert surveillance to avoid children having to testify in court.

I want to make sure we are there to provide advice to the police forces dealing with cases, as these are incredibly difficult to prosecute.

This network will share information so that we are raising our game consistently across the country.

– Director of Public Prosecution Alison Saunders

Charges over Iceland 'bin food theft' dropped

The Crown Prosecution have dropped charges against the three men accused of stealing waste food from bins behind a branch of Iceland.

A branch of Iceland
A branch of Iceland Credit: Niall Carson/PA Archive

Questions were raised over the criminal action against north London squatters Paul May, Jason Chan and William James, after the frozen food firm said staff had not alerted police and that it had contacted prosecutors to ask why action was being taken.

Baljit Ubhey, Chief Crown Prosecutor for CPS London, said: “This case has been reviewed by a senior lawyer and it has been decided that a prosecution is not required in the public interest.

"While the decision to charge was taken by the Metropolitan Police Service, a subsequent review of the case by the CPS did not give due weight to the public interest factors tending against prosecution," he said.

"In reconsidering this case, we have had particular regard to the seriousness of the alleged offence and the level of harm done. Both of these factors weigh against a prosecution," he added.

The three men were facing prosecution over claims they took tomatoes, mushrooms, cheese and Mr Kipling cakes from bins behind a branch of Iceland in Kentish Town.

Iceland said that the store is next to a police station and that officers had attended "on their own initiative".

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Justice system 'better and better' at prosecuting rape

Conviction rates for rape and domestic violence are at an all-time high.

For victims of these appalling crimes, the message is clear: you can have confidence that the criminal justice system is getting better and better at prosecuting these offences and if your case is charged there is now a very strong chance that your attacker will be convicted.

Offenders too should be warned.

However there is clearly more work to do. Violence against women and girls is a key priority for the CPS, and we continue to monitor our progress on these types of cases very closely to ensure we continue to improve our performance.

– Keir Starmer, Director of Public Prosecutions

Victims of rape often 'reluctant to come forward'

Government figures show that only a fraction of the thousands of men and women who are victims of sexual crimes each year report what has happened to police.

Conviction rates for rape and domestic violence are at an all-time high
Conviction rates for rape and domestic violence are at an all-time high Credit: Press Association

Around 473,000 women and men are sexually assaulted each year, with one in 20 women reported as being a victim of a serious sexual offence.

But only 54,000 sexual offences are recorded by police on average each 12 months, which it has been claimed is partly because victims are reluctant to come forward.

Rape & domestic violence convictions at all-time high

The Crown Prosecution Service says the number of successful convictions of defendants charged with rape has continued to rise.

  • 63.2% of cases where someone was charged with rape resulted in a conviction in 2012/13
  • The figure is up from 62.5% the previous year
  • The conviction rate for domestic violence was also up by 1% to 74% in 2012/13

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