Region has highest share of suspended prison sentences - report

The Northern Echo: Police and Crime Commissioner for Cleveland Barry Coppinger. Police and Crime Commissioner for Cleveland Barry Coppinger.

MORE of the region's criminals are walking away from court with suspended sentences than ever before, according to new research.

Durham, Cleveland and Northumbria had the highest percentage of offenders having their prison sentences suspended in the country.

The figures have been released by the Centre For Crime Prevention (CFCP) which is campaigning to have suspended sentences abolished.

The statistics, obtained from freedom of information requests, show that:

- More than four in ten prison sentences, or 42 per cent, in Northumbria were suspended in 2012, the highest figure in the country. In 2002 just three per cent were suspended.

- A total of 37 per cent of prison sentences in Cleveland and Durham were suspended in 2012, the last year full figures are available. The two counties are joint second-highest for the share of criminals whose prison sentences were suspended.

- In Northumbria, 1,391 sentences were suspended in 2012 compared with 730 in Cleveland and 568 in Durham. In 2002, only 89 sentences were suspended in Northumbria, 46 in Cleveland and 28 in Durham.

- The biggest increase was in Hertfordshire, up from ten suspended sentences in 2002 to 821 in 2012, an 82-fold increase. In Durham, the number rose from 28 to 568, a 20-fold increase; Northumbria, 89 to 1,391, nearly a 16-fold increase and Cleveland, 46 to 730, also a 16-fold increase.

Peter Cuthbertson, author of the report and director of CFCP, said: “These figures show that criminals given suspended sentences go on to commit hundreds of thousands of crimes. Suspended sentences should be abolished.”

Barry Coppinger, police and crime commissioner for Cleveland, said: “As a bald statistic the increase in suspended sentences could be seen as a concern. But you do need the wider picture and look at each case on its merits.”

Justice Minister Jeremy Wright said: "Since 2010 criminals are more likely to go to prison and for longer. In the 12 months to June 2013 almost 48,000 offenders didn't 'walk free' but went straight to prison, four times as many as got a suspended sentence.”

A Ministry of Justice spokeswoman added that the overall proportion of people getting suspended sentences between 2003 and 2013 had only gone up from 0.2 per cent to 3.6 per cent.

In the same period community sentences have fallen from 13.3 per cent to 10.8 per cent, suggesting that sentences are not getting softer.

Comments (6)

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7:53am Mon 12 May 14

Ron Carter-Bonsteel says...

Police Crime Commissioner states that suspended sentences could be a cause for concern but we have to look at the wider picture and look at each case on its merits. If this does not show the people of Cleveland that the PCC.is out of his depth he does not know anything about US victims.
Remember this people when he comes up for re-election he is just an apologist for the criminals and its no wonder Cleveland is as bad as it is with murders,and criminal activity. You just couldn't make it up could you.
Police Crime Commissioner states that suspended sentences could be a cause for concern but we have to look at the wider picture and look at each case on its merits. If this does not show the people of Cleveland that the PCC.is out of his depth he does not know anything about US victims. Remember this people when he comes up for re-election he is just an apologist for the criminals and its no wonder Cleveland is as bad as it is with murders,and criminal activity. You just couldn't make it up could you. Ron Carter-Bonsteel
  • Score: 2

8:05am Mon 12 May 14

laboursfoe says...

Ron Carter-Bonsteel wrote:
Police Crime Commissioner states that suspended sentences could be a cause for concern but we have to look at the wider picture and look at each case on its merits. If this does not show the people of Cleveland that the PCC.is out of his depth he does not know anything about US victims.
Remember this people when he comes up for re-election he is just an apologist for the criminals and its no wonder Cleveland is as bad as it is with murders,and criminal activity. You just couldn't make it up could you.
Hogg also was saying just a few months ago that thieves using benefits cuts as an excuse should have charges dropped and directed to support instead !!

You can't make it up!!!
[quote][p][bold]Ron Carter-Bonsteel[/bold] wrote: Police Crime Commissioner states that suspended sentences could be a cause for concern but we have to look at the wider picture and look at each case on its merits. If this does not show the people of Cleveland that the PCC.is out of his depth he does not know anything about US victims. Remember this people when he comes up for re-election he is just an apologist for the criminals and its no wonder Cleveland is as bad as it is with murders,and criminal activity. You just couldn't make it up could you.[/p][/quote]Hogg also was saying just a few months ago that thieves using benefits cuts as an excuse should have charges dropped and directed to support instead !! You can't make it up!!! laboursfoe
  • Score: 2

8:46am Mon 12 May 14

Copley23 says...

Only 2 day after I wondered about why we couldn't comment on the gypsy king getting off with his driving points because HE COULDN'T READ! What kind of excuse is this to let a man walk away...........

The magistrates and the police leave me staggered!!!!
Only 2 day after I wondered about why we couldn't comment on the gypsy king getting off with his driving points because HE COULDN'T READ! What kind of excuse is this to let a man walk away........... The magistrates and the police leave me staggered!!!! Copley23
  • Score: 7

12:14pm Mon 12 May 14

Mr A says...

Not being allowed to comment on the “Gypsy King” article in The Northern Echo stinks!

This is TNE censoring us!
Not being allowed to comment on the “Gypsy King” article in The Northern Echo stinks! This is TNE censoring us! Mr A
  • Score: 1

12:22pm Mon 12 May 14

Jackaranda says...

It doesn't surprise me, every time you read the Echo someone has escaped a prison sentence, I couldn't give a monkeys if sending them to prison means overcrowding, lock 'em up 4 to a cell, 23 hours per day, I say!!
It doesn't surprise me, every time you read the Echo someone has escaped a prison sentence, I couldn't give a monkeys if sending them to prison means overcrowding, lock 'em up 4 to a cell, 23 hours per day, I say!! Jackaranda
  • Score: 2

5:00pm Mon 12 May 14

settheworldonfire says...

Aye Billy Welch who cannot read or write....What a liar.....I saw a program on t.v. where he was reading from a piece of paper to the cameras....He was also driving a car with no m.o.t. or tax or insurance...So who did he blame for the car having none of the other 2.......It is police and court bias for the gypsy community...
ALSO NORTHERN ECHO WHY NO COMMENTS ALLOWED ?
IS THE EDITOR SCARED OF THE TRAVELING COMMUNITY?..
Aye Billy Welch who cannot read or write....What a liar.....I saw a program on t.v. where he was reading from a piece of paper to the cameras....He was also driving a car with no m.o.t. or tax or insurance...So who did he blame for the car having none of the other 2.......It is police and court bias for the gypsy community... ALSO NORTHERN ECHO WHY NO COMMENTS ALLOWED ? IS THE EDITOR SCARED OF THE TRAVELING COMMUNITY?.. settheworldonfire
  • Score: 1

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