06:45, August 15 27 0 theguardian.com

2019-08-15 06:45:05
Prosecutions in England and Wales fall to record low

The number of people being prosecuted or handed out-of-court disposals fell to its lowest level since records began, as recorded crime continued to rise, official figures have shown.

There were 1.59 million people formally dealt with by the criminal justice system in England and Wales between April 2018 and March 2019, a fall of 2% on the previous period, the Ministry of Justice said.

The number of people prosecuted at all courts fell by 1% overall, although the amount of defendants brought before magistrates’ courts remained broadly the same as the previous year, according to the figures.

But the number of people taken to court for indictable offences – serious crimes dealt with by a crown court – dropped by 8%, which is similar to the fall in the number of offences being charged by police.

This was set against a backdrop of an 8% rise in police recorded crime to 5.3 million offences, excluding fraud, and a 3% rise on the Crime Survey for England and Wales, which records people’s experiences of crime, to 6.4 million incidents.

The number of people on police bail fell by 16%, while there fewer out-of-court disposals used, with a 22,300 (9%) drop to 215,000, continuing a steady decline over the past 10 years. Only the use of community resolutions increased, by 3% to 105,600.

About two-thirds of prosecutions are brought to court by authorities other than police, such as councils or the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency.

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