Labour Launches Expert Team to Increase Crime Solving

Labour is setting up an expert commission tasked with drawing up reforms to increase the number of crimes solved. The Charging Commission will propose ways to help police and prosecutors bring more criminals to justice.

Home Office data show 2.4 million cases were dropped over evidential difficulties in the year ending March 2023. The government said it was determined to bring all offenders to justice.

But shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said the Conservative government’s record on law and order was one of “damaging decline and collapsing confidence in the criminal justice system”.

Ms Cooper said Labour’s expert commission would help “turn things around” and “deliver on our pledge to make Britain safer”. She told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme the partnership between the police and the prosecution had “crumbled”, with each side blaming the other instead of working together. We’ve got to cut some of the excess bureaucracy the police are facing and that prosecutors are facing and properly get new partnerships in place,” she added.

Labour said the commission would be chaired by the former Victims’ Commissioner, Dame Vera Baird, and include former chief constable Stephen Otter, former chief crown prosecutor Drusilla Sharpling, and West Yorkshire Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, Alison Lowe, on the panel.

The party said the panel would make recommendations in key areas for improvement across the police and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

The panel would seek to find ways to cut paperwork, boost digital forensics, and speed up the work of police and prosecutors.

Labour said the commission will meet for the first time in September this year. The party is concerned about the number of suspects not being identified, victims not wanting to press charges, increasing difficulties getting evidence, and the speed of cases slowing.

It pointed to recent Home Office figures showing that, in the year to March 2023, there were “evidential difficulties” with 2.4 million out of 5.4 million recorded crimes.

Labour says this amounts to “a decade of dereliction” by the Tory government on crime.

Dame Vera said the “woeful collapse in charging rates” meant victims were “giving up on the criminal justice system altogether. This Commission will bring together voices from across policing and prosecutions to forensically investigate the causes of this charging crisis, and set out robust recommendations for recovery,” Dame Vera said.

A Home Office spokesperson claimed “communities are safer” since the Conservatives took power 13 years ago. They said “neighbourhood crime including burglary, robbery and theft down 51% and serious violent crime down 46%”.

“The government has also delivered more police officers than ever before in England and Wales and the home secretary has been clear she expects the police to improve public confidence by getting the basics right – catching more criminals and delivering justice for victims,” the spokesperson added.

But they also acknowledged the criminal justice system “needs to work better together – including the current levels of cases being investigated and converted into charges and subsequent prosecutions”.

You might also like