ONLY one in 10 North Yorkshire Police investigations lead to offenders being prosecuted, the latest Home Office figures reveal.

Defendants at both York Magistrates’ Court and York Crown Court have frequently been given lesser sentences because of delays between them being first interviewed and the case being put before the court for the first time.

North and West Yorkshire CPS denied claims by the charity Victim Support nationally that the criminal justice system was close to collapse and said it was working with others to reduce delays.

North Yorkshire Police said many cases are dealt with more appropriately by ways that do not involve prosecution.

Both said the pandemic had affected their work.

According to the Home Office, of 12,219 investigations concluded in North Yorkshire between April and June, 1,205 or 9.9 per cent resulted in court cases, the lowest level since comparable records began in 2014. In the same period last year, the figure was 13.4 per cent.

Leanne McConnell, head of criminal justice at North Yorkshire Police, said: “The disposal will be one that is most appropriate for the individual circumstances to that crime and the suspect.

“To measure charges alone against investigation outputs as a binary level of success is imbalanced.”

Police alternative options to charging someone include cautions, community resolution disposals, diversions such as drug or alcohol referral schemes, fixed penalties and youth justice referrals.

“A number of our out-of-court disposals have restorative or reparative elements to them for example,” Ms McConnell said.

“These can be a good restoration for a victim and a method that is more effective in helping a victim recover from the impacts of crime.”

The police and CPS said cases may not result in charges because there wasn’t sufficient evidence to convict or it wasn’t in the public interest.

Earlier this month the Recorder of York, Judge Sean Morris, criticised a delay of two years between a defendant being arrested and charged.

Both he and district judge Adrian Lower have repeatedly asked prosecution lawyers for explanations about delays in individual cases.

A CPS spokesperson said: “There are some delays at present in the criminal justice system which we are working with our partners to reduce.

“Some cases are dealt with immediately because the suspect is being held in police custody.

“For other cases, the majority are handled within a 28 day period.

“This is proving to be a challenge presently, during this Covid recovery period, but we endeavour to adhere to these timescales so that the victims and witnesses of crime do not suffer unnecessary delays and we can ensure we are able to deliver justice.”