Belfast Telegraph

PPS reports rise in violent crimes in Northern Ireland

The PPS received a total of 43,298 investigation files in the last year (stock photo)
The PPS received a total of 43,298 investigation files in the last year (stock photo)

Cases of violent crime in Northern Ireland have jumped almost 6% in the last year, new figures reveal.

The report also reveals it took prosecutors 244 days to consider a file before taking it to court.

The Public Prosecution Service received 11,762 "violence against the person" investigation files in the last financial year, a 5.8% increase from the previous year.

"Violence against the person" cases are any crimes involving physical harm, including assault, kidnapping and battery.

In total, the PPS received 43,298 files in the last year, with more than a quarter relating to violent offences.

There were also year-on-year increases in drugs offences (8.3%) and sexual offences (7.4%).

Stephen Herron, the Director of Public Prosecutions, said: “We are very aware that crimes such as these often involve trauma to victims and we are committed to working closely with a wide range of representative groups and agencies to ensure that all possible supports are available at the right time through the prosecution process."

At Crown Court, where the most serious criminal offences are tried, the PPS had a conviction rate of 84.4%.

The number of indictable offences jumped almost 20% when compared with the previous year and took an average of 244 days to be processed by the PPS before getting to court.

Mr Herron said it was encouraging to see high conviction rates amid the demands of dealing with "sustained levels of the more serious and complex casework".

"A major focus of this work is also reducing avoidable delay, which is a complex issue requiring close partnership working between criminal justice stakeholders," he added.

"Together with my colleagues on the Criminal Justice Board, I am committed to significantly improving the time taken to deal with serious crimes as part of a wider ongoing transformation programme."

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