Dropped court cases increase

THE NUMBER of serious cases being dropped at magistrates' courts has soared in the last decade, with more than a quarter of charges being withdrawn, according to Home Office statistics published yesterday.

The Criminal Statistics for England and Wales 1992 show that 127,400 cases were discontinued or withdrawn last year, a five-fold increase on the 24,500 cases dropped in 1982.

The Crown Prosecution Service is studying the results of a survey of about 15,000 cases discontinued during November, following criticism from the police and from barristers that it is dropping too many charges.

The statistics also show guns were used in 10 per cent more crimes last year than in 1991, although firearms were only used in 0.2 per cent of all the 5.6 million offences recorded by the police. Guns were carried in about 11 per cent of robberies.

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