HARDLY any crimes reported to police in Cumbria will reach a courtroom, new figures suggest.

Over the course of nine months last year, fewer than one in ten investigations closed by Cumbria Constabulary resulted in a charge or court summons, we can reveal.

More than half of the cases wrapped up by the force between April and December 2021 were dropped due to difficulties gathering evidence – and in around 10,000 cases, victims withdrew their support for the investigation.

Victim Support said people are losing faith in the criminal justice system in light of stark Home Office statistics which show just 7 per cent of crimes closed by forces across England and Wales in that time resulted in a charge or summons to court.

The charge rate in Cumbria for that period is higher – but 91 per cent of investigations in the area never made it to court.

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We found significant disparity between offences, with almost half of the area’s drugs cases resulting in a charge or summons compared to just 6 per cent of sex offences.

'Cases in Cumbria are being closed when victims drop their support'

A Cumbria Constabulary spokesman said the area remained one of the safest counties to live in and said thorough recording processes meant all crimes were recorded - even when there were no leads for police to follow.

He highlighted the force’s use of out of court disposals, which saw officers hand down almost 300 cautions and arrange more than 800 ‘community resolutions’ during that time.

But Lee Evans – area manager for Victim Support Cumbria – said victims could be negatively impacted by a failure to put cases before the courts.

He said issues including lengthy inquiries and sometimes poor communication from authorities could lead to people feeling like their cases were not being taken seriously enough – and could contribute to some withdrawing their support for investigations.

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A third of the cases closed in Cumbria were affected by a victim dropping their support.

The force spokesman said: “The victim’s views are always sought and considered.

“In some cases, especially around safeguarding, we will progress to court without the victim if the evidence is present.”

He encouraged victims to report their experiences, adding: “If there are opportunities to trace and arrest offenders, I expect officers to pursue all lines of enquiry with vigour and determination.”

The spokesman added that the timeliness of complaints and the impact that has on forensic and CCTV evidence could contribute to evidential difficulties in some investigations.

Mr Evans called for victims to be well supported throughout their experiences with the criminal justice system.

He added: “At Victim Support Cumbria we work with the police to make sure victims are well updated and informed about the progress of their case, which is key to keeping people engaged.

“When cases fail to reach court, victims can start to lose faith in the criminal justice system, which why it’s vital that they receive support from victim support services like ours throughout the entire process.”