London, June 10 (ANI): The concept of "postcode lottery" for rape convictions still exists in the UK, as the gap in rape conviction rates between different British police forces is growing, according to new research by an equality campaign group.The Fawcett Society found that some police forces had rape conviction rate of less than five percent in 2007.
"In some areas you are 11 times more likely to secure a conviction than in others," group's report said.
In 2007, nearly 20 percent of rape accusations in Cleveland resulted in guilty verdicts, compared to just 1 in 60 in Dorset.
The survey found that rape conviction rates fell "worryingly" between 2006 and 2007 in 16 out of 42 police force areas in the UK.
"Rape should be treated with the same professionalism as other crimes. It is a national scandal that thousands of victims have no access to justice, and frequently face a culture of disbelief and delayed responses which may lead to the loss of vital evidence," Katherine Rake, of the Fawcett Society, said.
Cleveland Police Force's Rape conviction rate has improved continuously since 2004.
Detective Chief Inspector Alastair Simpson says a lot of it is down to the training given to officers.
"Within the Force we have given a number of officers specialist training to deal with victims of rape and these officers are always deployed whenever an allegation of rape is received," Sky News quoted Simpson, as saying.
UK's most senior officer, responsible for the investigation of rape, says new guidance has been issued to improve investigation of rape cases.
"Sexual offences referral centres have been implemented in may forces, and the aim is for every force to have access to these valuable facilities as soon as possible. What is of utmost importance in handling any rape case is that victims are cared for in the best and most sensitive way," Chief constable Dave Whatton said. (ANI)