Only one in seven crimes result in a criminal being charged, and the number of criminals being sent to gaol has hit it's lowest level since Labour came to power while the number being given a slap on the wrist with a caution has shot up by more than a quarter.
On the spot fines have also increased, even though only half are paid without further court action, while those being sent to custody fell by one per cent last year. It also emerged just one in five burglars who strike three times are being handed the minimum three year term they are supposed to receive.
A total of 4.95 million crimes were recorded by the police last year but only 673 227 suspects were charged or summonsed to court. It also accounted for just 49% of the 1.37 million offences that were solved during the year.
In total, some 95 206 people were gaoled last year, the lowest figure since 1997 and a sign of the impact of the pressure courts have been under to send fewer people to prison because of the overcrowding crisis. In contrast, 363 000 offenders were handed a caution, a 4% rise on 2006 and a 28% rise on the 282 100 handed out in 2007. Additionally:
- A rise in teenage girl committing crimes with the number sentenced up by 56% since 1997 to hit 14 800 last year.
- A postcode lottery in sentencing with criminals most likely to be gaoled in Northamptonshire and least likely in Northumbria.
- On the spot fines were up 3% year on year to 207 500 but only 52% were paid without the need for court.
- Only 40% of criminals in court with more than 15 previous convictions or cautions are gaoled for their latest offence.
Why am I not surprised?