Ian Austin MP

Labour MP for Dudley North

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Austin: Million cases not going to court

Dudley MP Ian Austin has revealed figures showing criminal courts are hearing nearly a million fewer cases than in 2010, accusing the government of a ‘courts crisis’.

Official figures he obtained from a Parliamentary Question show courts across England and Wales heard 2.8 million cases last year – nearly a million less than in 2010. Over the same period 98 criminal courts have been shut down completely.

The figures will add to concerns that rising numbers of criminal cases are being dealt with out of court using police cautions or community resolutions.

Austin says criminals should be brought to trial instead of allowing police to settle serious cases including burglary, assault and even domestic violence and rape with cautions.

Ian Austin said:

“We already know that a million crimes are not being recorded, the number of police is down by 13,000 and now these figures show that the number of cases taken to court is down by a quarter.

“When I was fighting to save Dudley’s local court from closure, magistrates told me police are dealing with serious cases, including domestic violence and rape, out of court.

“I think people will be outraged. Like me they want more police on the streets, more offenders going to court and more criminals being put in jail.”

Official figures for hearings at magistrates' courts in England and Wales for each of the last four years are available here.

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