Government figures show snapshot of crime in UK

ONLY 3 per cent of criminal offences committed lead to an offender being convicted or cautioned, says a report on the criminal justice system in England and Wales.

However, variations occur between offences. The report says 14 per cent of woundings result in a caution or conviction compared to 1.6 per cent of vandalism cases.

Once the cases have been taken to court the average time taken from the offence to completion of the case is about 128 days.

Of those arrested by the police before their first appearance in court, only 5 per cent are arrested and held in custody and the remainder summonsed.

The final outcome of proceedings at court finds 74 per cent of the accused guilty in the magistrates courts and 55 per cent in the Crown Court.

The report, based on 1993-94 figures, is published by the Home Office research and statistics department and is designed to present a comprehensive picture of crime and justice in England and Wales.

In the final chapter the report analyses public expenditure on the criminal justice system. The estimated total cost in 1993-94 was £9,424 million which is comparable to that spent on transport but 2.5 times less than that spent on defence and four times less than that spent on health.