Shocking number of unsolved crimes in Lancashire

Someone is told they must attend court, for just six per cent of crimes recorded by Lancashire Constabulary
Someone is told they must attend court, for just six per cent of crimes recorded by Lancashire Constabulary
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Suspects are 67 per cent less likely to be charged with crimes in Lancashire than three years ago.

Labour says government cuts to policing have effectively led to the decriminalisation of some offences, leaving communities at risk.

Home Office data shows that a suspect was charged or summonsed, which means someone is told they must attend court, for just six per cent of crimes recorded by Lancashire Constabulary in 2018-19.

This is much lower than the charge rate in 2014-15, when 18 per cent of crimes resulted in someone being brought to court.

Meanwhile, the force saw a 79 per cent increase in crime in the four years – it recorded 165,368 offences in 2018-19.

Andy Cooke, the National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for crime, said too few offences are being brought to court for justice to be done.

He added: “This is a symptom of the strain on policing as we try to manage growing crime and demand that is ever more complex.

“We continue to work across policing and with the Home Office in advance of the upcoming government spending review.

“Our aim is to build a stronger policing system that’s properly funded so we can reduce crime, improve outcomes and build public confidence.”

The drop in the charge rate reflects that across England and Wales, where 8% of crimes led to a charge or summons in 2018-19, compared to 17 per cent in 2014-15.

Recorded crime rose 43% to around 6 million incidents in the period, with public order offences seeing the greatest surge.

Labour’s shadow policing and crime minister Louise Haigh said: “Such is the crisis created by Tory cuts, some crimes have been effectively decriminalised because the police simply do not have the resources to investigate them.

“Cuts to policing have not only left victims without justice – they’ve let serious criminals walk free, leaving our communities at risk.”

A Home Office spokesperson said that changes in charge rates are likely to be the result of improved crime recording by police, and forces taking on more complex cases, such as domestic abuse or sexual offences.

They added: “We recognise the impact that crime can have on its victims, and we want offenders charged and brought to justice in the courts.

“We have increased police funding by more than £1 billion, including council tax and a new £100 million serious violence fund, to give the police additional resources.”