Nearly three-quarters of rape cases in Lincolnshire are closed by police because of difficulties surrounding evidence, figures have revealed.
The Home Office data, which also shows that just one in 21 cases ends with anyone being charged, reflects the difficulty police face in bringing suspects to court.
This week, it was disclosed that rape victims are being told they must hand over their mobile phones to police or risk prosecutions against their attackers not going ahead.
In 2018, 740 rape investigations were concluded by Lincolnshire police. Just 35, or five per cent, of them resulted in a suspect being charged.
The most common reason for investigations being closed was a problem in making evidence stick. For example, even though a named suspect had been identified, the victim did not support police action. This accounted for 31 per cent of cases.
In other cases, a crime had been confirmed but no suspect had been identified or investigations could be taken no further.
For Lincolnshire police, Det Supt Jon McAdam, head of protecting vulnerable persons, said: “Our approach to investigations is victim-focused.
“Our duty is to investigate matters thoroughly. However, our starting position is always to work with our partner organisations to support rape victims to cope and recover.
“We have arrangements to enable victims to self-refer without police being notified. However, this can be done in a way that evidence can be captured.
“We have to recognise that mobile devices, computers and other technology provide vital information and evidence that can assist in supporting prosecutions.
“In no way is this aimed at trying to make a victim feel uncomfortable or unsupported, but more to ensure they can have confidence in us to complete a thorough, fair and impartial investigation.
“Lincolnshire currently has one of the highest conviction rates for rape offences brought before the court, which is something to be proud of and demonstrates how committed our staff are to seeking justice for any victim of rape.”