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Burglary (Prosecutions)

Volume 551: debated on Tuesday 16 October 2012

7. What proportion of prosecutions for burglary were successful in each of the last three years; and if he will make a statement. (122181)

The Crown Prosecution Service’s records show that the proportion of defendants prosecuted successfully for burglary in each of the past three years was 86.1% in 2009-10, 85.8% in 2010-11 and 85.6% in 2011-12.

I congratulate my hon. Friend on his new position and thank him for that answer. Does he believe that fewer prosecutions will be brought if the new offence of using grossly disproportionate force, which the Justice Secretary intends to introduce, is brought in?

No. The intention is to be firm on burglary. In fact, the number of successful prosecutions increased from 23,700 to 25,077 between 2009 and the most recent figures. The approach is to be firm on burglary.

Is there any systematic review examining the causes where prosecutions fail? Obviously it could be quite right that the court should find a person not guilty, but sometimes there is a failure to pursue the prosecution adequately, either because witnesses do not match up or the case is not properly put, so is there any systematic review of where prosecutions fail?

Yes, this is something in which the Director of Public Prosecutions takes a particular interest. As Law Officers, we are in the position of superintending the process, and we ask the sort of probing questions that the hon. Gentleman would wish us to ask.