Record number of criminal cases collapse in Derbyshire after alleged victims drop out

A record number of criminal offences in Derbyshire last year failed to reach court after alleged victims withdrew support for their case, figures reveal.

Wednesday, 9th June 2021, 11:15 am

Campaigners say crime victims across England and Wales are being let down by the justice system due to spiralling delays and a lack of support.

Home Office data shows that of 80,204 offences closed by Derbyshire Constabulary last year, 23,489 fell through after the alleged victim did not support further action.

At 29.3%, that was the highest rate of cases to collapse for this reason since comparable figures were first published in 2015, when just 4% of offences assigned outcomes that year ended with this result.

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Campaigners say the numbers a cause of 'huge concern'.

It was also higher than 26.3% in 2019.

Across England and Wales, 27.4% of criminal cases closed last year collapsed after alleged victims withdrew support for further action – up from 25.1% in 2019 and the highest rate since 2015, when 12.8% were closed for this reason.

The figures do not include Greater Manchester Police as it did not submit complete data.

Rachel Almeida, assistant director at Victim Support, said the trend across the two nations was a “huge cause for concern”.

“Large rises in victims not supporting action presents a very serious challenge to the whole system,” she said.

Ms Almeida said the factors driving the rise were complex, and could include concerns about long waits for a trial, or a lack of confidence in the justice system more generally.

She added: “What is clear is that too often victim care has been seen as a ‘nice to have’ rather than a core component of the process. This must change.

“Addressing victim attrition must be made a priority by the Government through improving victims’ treatment and faith in the justice process.”

Of the cases dropped in Derbyshire last year after a victim did not support further action, a suspect was identified for 20,189 – around 86%, compared to 82% across England and Wales.

A government spokesman said: “We are committed to supporting all victims of crime. That is why we will be introducing a new Victims’ Law to protect them, as well as recruiting 20,000 more police officers, and boosting funding for support services to build confidence in the justice system.”