HC Deb 04 February 1965 vol 705 cc1263-4
14. Mr. Wingfield Digby

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many unsolved crimes were committed in 1963 and in 1953, respectively.

Sir F. Soskice

The number of indictable offences known to the police in England and Wales in 1963 was 978,076, and the number of such offences cleared up in that year was 421,942. The corresponding figures for 1953 were 472,989 and 222,100. The offences cleared up in a particular year include, of course, offences committed before it began; and similarly offences may be cleared up after the year in which they were committed.

Mr. Digby

Is it not alarming that the total number of offences not cleared up is increasing? Is it not true to say that in London only about one in four of the crimes committed is actually solved.

Sir F. Soskice

I do not quite accept that that is correct. If one takes percentages, the number which were not cleared up in 1953 was 53 per cent. and in 1963 it was 57 per cent. There is an increase, but it is not such a startling increase as all that. But I agree that the total number is a matter for the very gravest concern, and I am anxiously trying to do all I possibly can to retrieve the situation.

Mr. Hogg

Would the right hon. and learned Gentleman say exactly what he means by "cleared up"? Is this the convictions rate, or what other criteria are used?

Sir F. Soskice

It includes several categories. It includes those for which a person is arrested or summoned or for which he is cautioned. It includes those taken into consideration by a court when the offender is found guilty of another charge, and certain of those in which the person is known or suspected to be guilty but in which, for some reason or another, he cannot be brought to trial—for example, because he has died or for some reason of that sort.

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