Specialist legal team to tackle sex crimes in Kent

A specialist team of lawyers who will only deal with cases of rape and serious sexual assault has been set up by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) in Canterbury.

It is hoped the Rape and Serious Sexual Offences unit will improve victims' confidence in the justice system.

Similar units have also be set up in Surrey and Sussex.

Neil Sweet, from the CPS, said prosecutors would devote 100% of their time to sexual offence cases.

'Trying to improve'

He said: "There's always been a difficulty of successfully prosecuting rape and serious sexual offence cases.

"Poor conviction rates affects public confidence and complainants and victims have been unwilling to come forward despite the efforts of various agencies."

Mr Sweet said the unit would allow lawyers to concentrate 100% of their time on rape and sexual offence cases, where previously they had mixed portfolios.

"We're always trying to improve the service and the hope is the new unit, with close relationship with the police and other agencies, will improve the service to victims," he said.

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