Devon and Cornwall has one of the worst rates of rape in the country while police are also in the bottom five for detections.
Police data on the number of rapes recorded by the 43 police forces in England and Wales, and the outcomes, are published together for the first time today by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC).
It showed that there were 420 incidents of rape reported to Devon and Cornwall Police in the 12 months to March 2013 – a rate of 30.3 per 100,000 population – the fourth highest in the country.
Meanwhile the force’s detection rate was just 12%, significantly lower than the national average of 18%, ranking it fifth lowest in the country.
Figures for offences of child rape were also worrying with the rate of 91.1 crimes per 100,000 children under 16, being the third highest. While the number of offenders being caught was higher, at 24%, it was still below the national average of 31%, putting the force eighth lowest of 43.
A Devon and Cornwall Police spokesman welcomed the report but said “numbers cannot tell the whole story”.
“We encourage reporting and are determined to provide the best possible service to the victims. To this end we have specialist investigation teams and dedicated sexual offences liaison officers to ensure victims are properly supported and cared by police.
“We also working very closely with partner agencies such as health and those in the criminal justice system to support victim care and importantly, ensure offenders are brought to justice.
“Our figures also reflect the fact that all allegations of rape are recorded as a crime when first reported. This again ensures victims feel confident in the way the force responds to and investigates such allegations.
“We continually monitor our performance in respect of this crime and through the work that we have undertaken over the last 12 months we have seen an improvement in police outcomes.
“We will work hard with our partners to ensure that this improvement is maintained.”
The data was published by HMIC, on behalf of the Rape Monitoring Group, which hopes they will help the public understand the extent of rape offences and look at how well their force is responding, compared to others.
HM Inspector of Constabulary Dru Sharpling, corr who chairs the monitoring group, said: “Rape is one of the most serious violent crimes and the impact on victims can be devastating. It is absolutely crucial that the police and wider criminal justice system has all of the information available to ensure that victims are being believed and the police are following through investigations
“We will be seeking to improve on these data sets and will publish information at regular intervals to encourage and maintain performance improvements across England and Wales.”