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No easy solutions, says West Mercia police and crime commissioner

By Mark Andrews | Ludlow | Crime | Published:

West Mercia's police and crime commissioner John Campion admitted that figures showing just one in 11 crimes lead to charges were a cause for concern, but said there were no easy solutions.

West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion

Mr Campion said there was a need for all branches of the criminal justice system to work closely to tackle the problem.

"The decline in the number of offenders being charged with a crime is a worrying trend, but it is not an issue that can be solved solely by a single agency," he said.

"There needs to be collective action across the entire criminal justice system, not only from the police, but the courts, CPS and victim services."

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Mr Campion said he had recruited more than 300 new officers to tackle the crimes that mattered most to the communities served by the force.

"With this extra investment West Mercia Police will have the resources to make sure that perpetrators are charged, and that victims receive the proper support to recover," he said.

"However, there is more work to do to by all agencies in the Criminal Justice System to make sure that criminal are brought to justice.”

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Ludlow MP Philip Dunne said the figures were disappointing.

"It's disappointing to see a big reduction in crimes being solved, or at least in charges being brought," he said.

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"It's really important that those who suffer criminal activity can feel confident the police are apprehending the criminals and then pressing charges. I do hope they will be making efforts to reverse this trend."

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Shropshire Council leader Councillor Peter Nutting believed that the fall may well be down to a fall in serious crime in the county.

"I think it reflects the nature of the crimes being reported," he said.

"I think it reflects the fact that probably serious crime is down, and the crime that is reported is less serious and has been dealt with in different ways.

"I think we have a very law-abiding population in our county, and that while we do have odd spikes, generally people are abiding by the law."

Councillor Alan Mosley, leader of the Labour group on Shropshire Council, said the figures raised questions about the impacts of cuts to the justice system.

"These figures need a thorough investigation and review," he said.

"In particular, we should be looking at the extent to which the very significant cuts to the justice system and to the police have impacted on the large decline in those figures."

Craig Williams, MP for Montgomeryshire, said he would be looking into the reasons behind the fall in the number of charges being brought.

"I would like to work with the Justice Department to see what is behind those figures," he said.

"Clearly, the collection and presentation of the evidence, and moving to a charge, is quite a detailed challenge, and I would like to no more about it.

"I will be writing to the Department of Justice, and the Crown Prosecution Service, to look behind what's going on."

Mark Andrews

By Mark Andrews
@MAndrews_Star

Senior news writer for the Shropshire Star specialising in in-depth features and commentary, investigative reporting and political matters.

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