An investigation by the BBC’s Panorama team has shown that fewer people are being charged despite a growing number of recorded crime in Lincolnshire.
Figures, taken from Home Office Data for the programme, which will air tonight (Wednesday) show that charges between 2014-2017 fell by four per cent whilst recorded crime rose by six per cent.
Nationally, 527,000 charges were brought in 2016-17 - a fall of 65,000 on 2014-15. These figures are against a backdrop which shows that the number of crimes recorded rose by nearly 750,000.
Other figures from the BBC investigation, say that charges for robbery have fallen in the last three years across Lincolnshire, however, the number of reported robberies has risen.
The same is true for possession of weapons.
Public order, drugs offences and theft all show decreases in both recorded crimes and number of charges, whereas criminal damage and arson, violence and sex offences all show increases in both categories.
According to the BBC’s report police say a squeeze on resources is making crime harder to investigate while the Home Office says it is working with police to find a solution.
The BBC has also spoken to victims across the country who feel let down by police and who feel that they are not getting justice.
Louth and Horncastle MP and Home Office minister Victoria Atkins has told the BBC’s team that the Government is looking at the problem ‘very carefully’
She told the broadcaster: “We want to ensure that when a victim reports a crime to the police that it’s investigated properly and thoroughly and that any charges that are appropriate are made.”
When approached on the figures by The Standard, Detective Chief Superintendent Steve Taylor, Head of Crime for Lincolnshire Police said: “The national picture is concerning but it is positive for Lincolnshire that we haven’t seen such a drastic rise in crime or drop in charges. However, I do understand how this will be of little comfort to someone if they have been a victim of any crime.
“We look at every report of crime carefully and consider the investigative opportunities on a case by case basis. There has been a 4% fall in the number of persons charged or summonsed to court, however part of this fall will be due to our revised approach to how we deal with young people who are involved in crime.
“It isn’t right that children and young persons are criminalised at such an early stage in their lives. Lincolnshire Police along with our partners are exploring alternative restorative interventions to change behaviours and prevent offending. We are currently projecting a 47% increase in our community resolutions for young people through joint diversionary panels (JDP’s) which will equate to 14% less youths being charged with offences.
“Of course the victims wishes are important and early feedback is that victims who have been involved with young people being subject to restorative justice have found it a positive approach.
“It is also important to consider that criminal offending patterns are changing nationally. The introduction of the digital age has brought with it new challenges for crime investigation. Offenders can now commit offences from the comfort of their own homes via the internet or mobile devices. Around 50% of crimes reported to us now have some form of digital influence.
“Lincolnshire remains one of the safest counties in the country, however, whether it is more traditional types of offending or new and emerging crimes, Lincolnshire Police is absolutely intent on identifying offenders and bringing them to justice, whilst endeavouring to provide the best possible service to victims.
“If you have been a victim of crime please make sure you report it. We will always do our best to solve your crime, and even if we cannot, it will help us to protect others from becoming victims.”