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Labour is pledging to “restore faith in law and order” as it claims confidence in the justice system has collapsed under Tory management.
A quarter of reported crimes are going unpunished due to victims not pursuing charges, new analysis from the party suggests.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, a former director of public prosecutions, argued that belief in the criminal justice system is being “devastatingly undermined” under the Conservatives, adding that “Britain deserves better”.
Home Office data shows 25.5% of cases in the year ending September 2021 were closed due to victims not supporting further action, according to Labour.
Of these, 20.9% had a suspect already identified, it said.
The latter figure was up from 20.7% in the year to September 2020, and 18.2% in the year to September 2019.
It is more than treble the first figure recorded in the relevant Home Office dataset, which was 6.9% in the year to March 2015.
Sir Keir said: “Faith in the criminal justice system to deliver for victims is a pillar of a civilised country. Under the Conservatives, it’s being devastatingly undermined.
“As ever with this Prime Minister, the institutions he vows to protect are being damaged.
“As director of public prosecutions, I saw the essential value of victims knowing that they would be backed to the hilt until justice was served.
“Twelve years of Conservative government have decimated the system, leaving too many people in an emotional and financial limbo and more likely to give up on getting the justice they deserve.”
He claimed the Prime Minister, who was recently fined over the partygate scandal, shows “no respect for law and order”, adding: “How can the country have faith in the system if even when justice is served, it apparently has no consequences?”
Boris Johnson has faced repeated calls to resign after being hit with a fixed penalty notice for attending a birthday party thrown in his honour in the Cabinet Room in June 2020, at a time when indoor socialising was banned.
He has apologised and paid the fine but made no indication that he will step down, saying he wants to “focus on the job in hand”.
Sir Keir added: “Britain deserves better. With Labour, victims will come first and criminals will be punished.”
The Ministry of Justice has been approached for comment.