Fewer police probes leading to court action

Just eight per cent of crimes investigated in the Northumbria Police area resulted in a charge or court summons, new figures show.

Friday, 12th November 2021, 2:43 pm
Justice system fears

Home Office figures show that, of 30,936 investigations concluded in the area between April and June, just 2,550 resulted in charge or summons – 8.2%.

This was down from 12.1% during the same three months in 2020 – the lowest level for the period since comparable records began in 2014.

Of the investigations closed in Northumbria between April and June, 37% were for violence against the person, followed by theft offences (24%), and criminal damage and arson (15%).

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Across England and Wales, the proportion of offenders charged or appearing in court fell from 9.4% to 7.6% – also a record low for the quarter.

Victim Support said the low volume of suspects taken to court has been a "major issue" for a long time, and it has been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Jeffrey DeMarco, assistant director at the support service, added: “This has the real potential of seriously impacting victims’ security and wellbeing while also damaging trust and confidence in the wider criminal justice system.”

Stephanie Boyce, President of The Law Society, said: “Because memories fade over time, there is a risk that evidence given in court will not be as good as if cases were brought promptly, which may affect the outcome.

A Government spokeswoman said changes in charge rates are likely to be the result of more crimes being recorded by police and forces taking on more complex cases which could take longer to resolve.