Police forces have been accused of letting criminals off the hook as new figures show arrests in England and Wales have halved despite crime reaching record levels.
The total number of arrests has gone down from 1.5 million in the year ending March 2008 to 779,660 in the year ending March 2017, a drop of 48 per cent. Arrests have fallen 12 per cent in the past year alone.
Meanwhile the total number of recorded crimes has risen above 5 million for t.... Figures released earlier this month showed a 13 per cent year on year rise in crime in England and Wales.
The Home Office said the fall in arrests was partly down to a strategy of keeping young people out of jail using cautions and warnings rather than arresting them.
But a former home secretary warned that such a sharp drop in arrests would send “a signal” to criminals that they “can get away with” crime. Justice campaigners said victims had been “marginalised” by police forces that increasingly treat common crimes such as burglary and criminal damage as trivial matters.
Separately, the Home Office figures showed that black people are now eight times more likely to be stopped and searched than white people, which the Home Secretary said would need to be explained by chief constables.
Arrests have plummeted at a time when some forces have diverted huge resources to investigating historical sex abuse allegations that have later been discredited. Senior officers have also come under fire for allowing a series of "silly stunts" such as officers painting their fingernails, playing in dodgem cars and posing in fancy dress.
In the year to March 2017, only 11 per cent of crimes resulted in someone being charged. In 48 per cent of all cases, no suspect was identified.
Only 8 per cent of reported theft offences resulted in charges; for criminal damage the figure was 6.4 per cent.
The Home Office said the drop in arrests was partly down to "greater use of other outcomes, such as community resolutions, as part of efforts to reduce the number of young people entering custody".
But Lord Blunkett, the former Labour home secretary, said that such a sharp drop in arrests would encourage crime.