Less than one in twenty vandalism cases result in a charge

2 Nov 2023

EMBARGO: Immediate Release

Just 4% of criminal damage cases in 2022/23 resulted in a suspect being charged or summonsed, the Liberal Democrats have revealed.

The analysis comes from House of Commons Library analysis of the Home Office’s own crime outcome statistics.

In 2022/23, only 20,180 criminal damage cases across England and Wales resulted in a charge, despite the fact that a grand total of 490,534 cases were recorded - that’s just 4%. 

This is a 16% decrease from the number of convictions in the 2021/22 year. 

The worst performing police force this year was Surrey, where a measly 161 cases resulted in a charge - just 2% of all criminal damage incidents. 

Meanwhile, 59% of criminal damages cases across England and Wales went unsolved in the same time period. 

The Liberal Democrats have slammed the Conservative Government for these figures, arguing that years of using policing resources have not been used effectively - leaving frontline policing over-stretched and under-resourced, while communities become vulnerable to crimes like criminal damage. 

The party is calling for a return to proper community policing, where officers are visible, trusted and able to focus on tackling neighbourhood crime.

Commenting, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Home Affairs Alistair Carmichael MP said: 

“Imagine having your property ruthlessly destroyed and damaged, only for those responsible to get away with it.

“It’s a total disgrace that so few criminals are brought to justice while victims are understandably left distressed, violated and fearful that it will happen again. 

“Conservative incompetence has left too many victims to pick up the pieces themselves. 

“What we need is a return to proper community policing - with officers embedded in their local communities, focused on preventing crimes and ensuring criminals cannot get away with it for any longer.” 


Notes to Editor:

Full data, broken down by police force, can be found here. Data taken from Home Office, Police recorded crime open data Police Force Area tables from year ending March 2013 onwards

Criminal damage is defined by Victims First as “intentional and malicious damage to the home, other property or vehicles [including] graffiti.”




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