24 January 2020
As the media reports claim police have “give up on charging thieves”, National Chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) John Apter responds.
On the front page of the Daily Telegraph today (January 24), data from the Home Office reveals the chances of a theft resulting in a charge have halved from 10.8 per cent in 2015 to 5.4%, and from 2.6% to 1.3% for personal theft.
Charging rates have continued to plummet for a majority of crimes over the years – including for the most serious of crimes including rape and violence.
Responding to the startling findings, PFEW National Chair John Apter said: “There can be many reasons for the number of offenders being charged reducing. Out of court disposals, the wider use of fixed penalty notices and deferral schemes are all being used more and more to keep offenders away from the court system.
“Police officers are doing the very best they can against a backdrop of cuts which have, in some places, crippled policing. With almost 22,000 fewer officers and thousands fewer staff there will be a consequence.
He added: “Charging decisions for the majority of crimes are generally made by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), not the police. What will drive these decisions is evidence, sometimes we simply don’t have enough to satisfy the CPS which is not only frustrating for victims but also for those police officers investigating the crimes.
“It must not be ignored that the majority of a police officer’s shift will be taken up with non-crime related calls, such as dealing with mental health, missing persons and social issues which don’t have an offence attached to it,” he concluded.
The statistics coincide with new crime figures from the ONS which yet again show violent and knife continuing to spike.