12/06/2022

Wales News Online

Local & National News for Wales

North Wales Police participates in project to drive up charging and conviction rates for rape and serious sexual offences

North Wales Police has become one of 14 police services to participate in a project designed to transform the policing response to rape and serious sexual offences (RASSO).

The plan, known as Operation Soteria Bluestone, is a Home Office funded research and change programme, led by the NPCC. The aims are to significantly improve victims’ experience, and drive up charging and conviction rates.

Insights gained from this review will form an improvement plan, allowing officers to take part in enhanced learning and development opportunities, specialist guidance and peer support from the operation’s national learning network.

T/Chief Constable Richard Debicki said: ‘Rape and other sexual offences are often complex, and we recognise improvements are needed to address low reporting and conviction rates.

‘This project provides an opportunity to examine the way we work within our own organisation, as well as with partners in the criminal justice system and victim support services.

‘Our intention is to positively change outcomes for victims, and we’re looking forward to enhancing our existing work in this area, to deliver the best possible response and support at a time when people need it most.’

Police and Crime Commissioner for North Wales Andy Dunbobbin said: ‘I am pleased that North Wales Police is taking part in this review, which I hope will deliver real change for victims of rape and other sexual crimes in the region. When elected as Police and Crime Commissioner, I made clear that delivering justice for victims of crime in North Wales was key and I am working hard with North Wales Police to deliver on behalf of our communities every day.

‘It is vital that Police Officers have the skills and knowledge to respond to victims in an effective way, and that they continue to build on this expertise throughout their time serving the community. This review will hopefully result in more victims coming forward, an increase in charging and conviction rates, and swifter justice being delivered to those who need it.

‘I am pleased that North Wales Police is one of the first 14 forces to take part in phase two of Op Soteria, demonstrating that the service and its officers are at the forefront of fighting crime, and in making the region a safer place for all residents and visitors.’

Initially launched as a pilot scheme by Avon and Somerset back in 2021, the Home Office funded project brought together police, academics, policy leads, victims and charities, and will set about creating a new national standard for police forces.

North Wales Police have joined an expanded scheme that will see safeguarding departments share how they work with leading academics for evaluation.

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