500,000 crimes a year by repeat offenders

Click to follow

Repeat offenders committed more than 500,000 offences in a year, with more than half of these carried out by career criminals each with more than 25 previous offences, figures showed today.

These included some 3,400 serious violent or sexual offences, and a fifth of the offenders who returned to crime were juveniles, the latest figures for 2009 released by the Ministry of Justice showed.

Other figures also out today showed 134 dangerous criminals were charged with murder, rape or another serious offence in 2010/11, despite being monitored by the authorities.

It is the first time that the number of offences committed by offenders who have returned to crime, 510,000 in 2009, has been published.

More than 10,000 burglars went on to commit another 1,800 domestic burglaries within a year, and almost 3,000 thefts.

And more than 6,000 serious violent offenders went on to commit more than 650 violent offences, 48 of which were classed as serious.

The breakdown of figures also showed that more than 8,000 sex offenders, including more than 4,000 who abused children, went on to commit more than 1,200 further sex crimes, including 330 against children.

Of the 134 dangerous or sexual offenders charged with a serious further offence last year, 26 were managed with regular multi-agency public protection (Mapp) meetings, other figures showed.

Three of these were assessed as posing the highest risk to the public and eight serious case reviews were ordered after the offenders went on to kill or rape, or tried to murder or rape, despite being monitored.

Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (Mappa) panels, which include police, councils and other Government agencies, were set up to manage the risks to the public from dangerous criminals after they leave prison.

Prisons and Probation Minister Crispin Blunt said: "Reoffending in this country is unacceptably high and these statistics underline the urgent need for steps to reform the system and introduce a rehabilitation revolution to our prisons and community sentences.

"That is why we are introducing tougher sentences that properly punish offenders while addressing the root causes of their behaviour."

He added that the Mappa figures showed the system was "a very effective way of protecting communities from known sexual and violent offenders".

The reoffending rate in England and Wales dropped slightly over the past decade, down from 27.9% in 2000 to 26.3% in 2009, the figures showed.

Hartlepool topped the tabled with a reoffending rate of 36.6%, while Rutland was the lowest, at 14.4%.

Other figures showed the number of dangerous offenders who went on to commit another serious offence fell last year, down to 134 from 196 in 2009/10.

The Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) said the fall showed "the police service has continued to make good use of the legislative tools that are available to it".

Assistant chief constable Michelle Skeer, the Acpo lead for the management of sexual and violent offenders, said: "While the reality is that the risks posed to the public by such individuals can never be completely eliminated the reports provide evidence that Mappa successfully keeps them to a minimum."

Some 30,000 (46.8%) of the 64,000 offenders released from jail in 2009 returned to crime within a year, committing 120,000 offences - an average of more than four each, the figures showed.

More than half of these had been serving sentences of less than 12 months and for these the reoffending rate was higher at 56.8%.

Burglars and thieves were among those adults most likely to reoffend.

The reoffending rate was 47.4% for domestic burglars, 48.1% for other burglars, and 47.7% for thieves, compared with 9.3% for child sex offenders, 12% for drink-drivers and 14% for fraudsters.

Warren Hill young offenders institution in Suffolk had the worst reoffending rate of any prison in the country, with more than seven in 10 of those given sentences of 12 months or more going on to commit another crime within a year of their release.

The figures also showed 950 freed offenders, including 17 murderers and 10 rapists, were on the run despite being recalled to prison for committing another offence.

A total of 96 of these were recalled between April and June this year alone and were not back behind bars by the end of last month.

Overall, 56.8% of adults serving short jail sentences of less than 12 months reoffend within a year, going on to commit an average of 4.5 further offences each, the figures showed.

For those jailed between one and four years, the rate was 37.9%, compared with 24.7% for those serving between four and 10 years, and 9% for those serving more than 10 years.

A total of 44 offenders serving the controversial indeterminate sentences for the public's protection were released, with six of these going on to commit another crime.