No figures for bail offenders

POLICE in Suffolk today admitted they were unable to say how many crimes are committed by offenders while on bail.A request was made under the Freedom of Information Act to every force in the country asking for the number of offences during 2006.

POLICE in Suffolk today admitted they were unable to say how many crimes are committed by offenders while on bail.

A request was made under the Freedom of Information Act to every force in the country asking for the number of offences during 2006.

Only nine were able to comply with the request - and Suffolk was among those which claimed the information was not readily available and the cost of gathering it would be too high.

In a response to the request, the constabulary's chief information compliance officer said: “This data is not easily extractable from a central database or held in a spreadsheet.

“In order to comply with your request, every crime report recorded on Suffolk Constabulary's Crime Information System in the calendar year 2006 would need to be manually viewed to ascertain whether an offender whilst on bail committed the offence.

“This process would take many hours and there would be no guarantee of accuracy.”

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Under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act an authority can refuse the information requested if the cost of answering the question is more than £450.

Norfolk police were among the nine forces which were able to provide an answer - saying that 2,962 offences were committed by people free on police or court bail.

This number was dwarfed by figures given for the metropolitan police area which stood at 31,440.

Do you think there should be closer monitoring of the number of crimes committed by offenders while on bail? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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