Show caption Keir Starmer speaks with local people during a visit to Croydon intended to highlight Labour’s commitment to neighbourhood policing. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA UK criminal justice Keir Starmer: crime victims are giving up on justice under Tory rule Labour leader criticises failing system as quarter of cases in England and Wales dropped for lack of evidence Kevin Rawlinson Mon 18 Apr 2022 22.30 BST Share on Facebook
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Victims of crime are giving up on ever getting justice, Keir Starmer has warned, as Labour underlined official figures that show a quarter of reported crimes in England and Wales are being dropped for lack of evidence, with victims deciding not to support further action.
The party leader promised to restore faith in law and order, saying that more than a decade of Conservative governance had left the justice system on its knees. And he accused the prime minister, Boris Johnson, of further undermining public confidence by personally breaking the law and then refusing to resign.
“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,” Starmer said.
“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.
“This is all in addition to a prime minister who shows no respect for law and order. How can the country have faith in the system if even when justice is served, it apparently has no consequences? Britain deserves better. With Labour, victims will come first, and criminals will be punished.”
Home Office data shows that 25.5% of reported cases in England and Wales were dropped due to “evidential difficulties” in the year ending September 2021, with the victim not supporting further action.
The majority of those – representing 20.9% of the whole – came despite a suspect having been identified, the figures showed. That was up from 20.7% in the year to September 2020, and 18.2% in the year to September 2019. And 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.
Johnson has faced repeated calls to resign after receiving a fixed-penalty notice for attending a birthday celebration thrown in his honour in the Cabinet Room of No 10 in June 2020, at a time when indoor socialising was banned under Covid rules.
He has apologised and paid the notice but made no indication that he would step down, saying he wanted to “focus on the job in hand”.
The Home Office has been approached for comment.