Rise in crimes by 'supervised offenders'

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More than 80 serious offences, including murder and rape, were committed last year by violent offenders supposedly under strict community supervision.

The Government was accused of "catastrophic failure" after it disclosed that the number of high-risk criminals who offended again had increased by more than one-third.

The admission follows a series of murders and attacks in recent years by recently freed offenders.

The Ministry of Justice said 83 offenders supervised by probation and other agencies in England and Wales were charged in 2006-07 with serious offences such as murder, manslaughter, rape or grievous bodily harm. That is a 36 per cent increase on the 61 recorded in 2005-06.

Twelve of the 83 crimes were carried out by offenders assessed as presenting the highest risk and who were meant to be under the most rigorous supervision.

Three were in Kent, two in South Wales and one each in Bedfordshire, Devon and Cornwall, Dorset, Essex, North Yorkshire, South Yorkshire and West Yorkshire.

David Heath, the Liberal Democrat justice spokes-man, said: "For even one offender to commit another serious offence while under supervision is unacceptable. For 83 to do so in a single year – a tenth of all the offenders released from prison – is a catastrophic failure."