A Freedom of Information Act request has revealed that over 10,000 people who committed serious violent crimes, including domestic violence, were let off without conviction last year.
The documents were obtained by the Labour party from police forces in England and Wales and show that offenders were dealt with by ‘community resolutions’ which range from offenders having to apologise to their victims to offering them compensation.
The numbers have steadily risen from:
792 in 2008
5,173 in 2009
7,621 in 2010
8,523 in 2011
10,160 in 2012
Defending the figures, a Home Office spokesman said:
“Crime continues to fall – recorded crime is down by more than 10% under this Government and the independent Crime Survey for England and Wales shows crime is at its lowest level since records began.
“It is the responsibility of Chief Constables to ensure that community resolutions are used appropriately. Through crime maps and Police and Crime Commissioners, the public now have the means to hold them to account.”
But shadow home secretary, Yvette Cooper, has blamed police cuts for the increased use of community resolutions:
“These figures are extremely serious.
“There has been a massive increase in the number of serious and violent crimes dealt with just by community resolution ever since the police cuts started – breaking all the expert guidance and promises from ministers.
“Offenders who admit to serious and violent crimes – including knife crime, domestic violence, and serious assault – are increasingly being let off with no criminal record, no justice, and not even a caution. That’s bad for justice, bad for victims, and goes against all the evidence.”
Labour leader Ed Miliband said:
“Today we have got evidence that 10,000 violent offenders are getting off without a caution but with so-called community resolution.
“I am in favour of community resolution for… graffiti-ing a wall, anti-social behaviour. I am not in favour of it for violent offences. I think that really needs to be looked at.
“We have got fewer police on our streets.
“If it is the fact that there are fewer police and therefore these violent offenders are getting away without even a caution, I think that is something we should be really worried about.”