‘Cuts leading to criminals being let off’

Yvette Cooper attending an International Women's Day event at Bridge Arts in Castleford. (P503A311)
Yvette Cooper attending an International Women's Day event at Bridge Arts in Castleford. (P503A311)

Cuts to police budgets are leading to violent offenders being let off without a criminal record or caution, an MP has claimed.

Yvette Cooper, MP for Pontefract and Castleford, has criticised the growing use of “community resolutions” for violent offences.

Under the scheme, offenders are allowed to apologise or offer compensation under an agreement with the victim.

In 2009, community resolutions were used nine times in West Yorkshire for “violence against the person” crimes, figures released to the Labour Party show.

Last year they were used for 1,934 violent offences in the county, including 717 cases of assault with injury and 906 of assault without injury.

Ms Cooper said government cuts meant police forces around the country were resorting to community resolutions instead of bringing offenders to court.

She added: “There has been a massive increase in the number of serious and violent crimes dealt with just by community resolution since the police cuts started.

“Ministers have allowed this to happen. We know police forces are under pressure from the scale of cuts and demands to dispose of crimes.””

Community resolutions include “restorative justice” methods, where an offender is brought face to face with their victim.

A Home Office spokeswoman said: “It is the responsibility of chief constables to ensure that community resolutions are used appropriately. Through crime maps and police and crime commissioners, the public now have the means to hold them to account.”