Labour attacks Government over court prosecutions drop in West Yorkshire

Court convictions in West Yorkshire have dropped by almost 50 per cent in some crimes over the last five years, new figures analysed by Labour have shown.

Over the last five years, robbery prosecutions fell 10 per cent and convictions fell 46 per cent, theft prosecutions fell 62 per cent and convictions fell 41 percent, burglary prosecutions fell by 32 per cent and convictions fell 42 per cent and arson prosecutions fell by eight per cent and convictions fell 22 per cent.

The figures were obtained by Labour’s Shadow Justice Secretary Steve Reed ahead of electors heading to the polls in Wakefield today for the parliamentary by-election.

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Steve Reed said: “This Conservative Government is letting criminals off and letting victims down.

Over the last five years, robbery prosecutions fell 10 per cent and convictions fell 46 per cent, theft prosecutions fell 62 per cent and convictions fell 41 percent, burglary prosecutions fell by 32 per cent and convictions fell 42 per cent and arson prosecutions fell by eight per cent and convictions fell 22 per cent.

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“Whether it’s cutting the number of police officers who should be preventing crimes like burglary, theft and robbery, slashing the number of prosecutors or shutting our courts, the Conservatives have shown the public time after time that they’re simply soft on crime.”

The fall in convictions has been driven by the crown courts backlog, Labour said.

The backlog has increased on average by 43 per cent in last five years, with a third of all crown courts seeing increases of over 50 per cent.

Wakefield’s Crown Court on Wood Street was closed in 1992, with plans unveiled this week for it to become a modern performance and arts space.

The city’s Magistrates Court closed in 2016, and there has been some suggestion that asking witnesses from the city to travel to Leeds to give evidence is deterring them from agreeing to appear in court.

The limit on sitting days at courts across the country was been lifted last month in a bid to clear the backlog of cases caused by Covid closures.

The same ruling last year meant that nearly 17,000 more days were sat in the Crown Court than the year prior to the pandemic and the number of outstanding cases in the Crown Court has fallen by around 2,500 since its peak in June 2021.

The Government has spent £250m so far on dealing with the impact of the pandemic on the justice system according to figures released in April.

The Ministry of Justice was approached for comment.