Figures reveal major differences in numbers who are being charged

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A RAPE case referred to the Crown Prosecution Service is twice as likely to result in a charge if it comes from West Yorkshire Police than the neighbouring North Yorkshire force, according to figures provided by the CPS.

Just 36 per cent of cases sent to the CPS by North Yorkshire in 2013 led to a decision to charge, compared to 73 per cent for West Yorkshire.

In South Yorkshire the figure was even higher at 83 per cent and in Humberside 69 per cent of referrals ended with a positive response from the CPS. The national average was 56 per cent.

The question mark over the outcome of investigations in North Yorkshire is underlined by a series of low charging rates over the last five years which have never risen above 39 per cent.

Deputy chief crown prosecutor Gerry Wareham, who has responsibility for violence against women in Yorkshire, said he would be “discussing” the issue with North Yorkshire though he added that there could be good reasons for relatively low level of charging.

Statistics surrounding charging rates can be difficult to gauge and could be influenced by whether a force is pushing as many cases as it can or opting to “cherry pick” those it feels stand a good chance of resulting in a prosecution.

However, police and prosecutors have been working together much more closely at an earlier stage in investigations in a bid to increase efficiency over charging decisions and North Yorkshire’s persistent low charging rate could be cause for concern.

North Yorkshire Police declined to comment on the disparity between forces with a spokesman insisting it was a matter for the CPS.