Hundreds of crimes committed by reoffenders in North Herts last year

Five people including a man from Ely - have been arrested as part of an operation to tackle drugs.

Five people including a man from Ely - have been arrested as part of an operation to tackle drugs. Picture: ARCHANT. - Credit: Archant

Hundreds of crimes were committed by previous offenders in North Hertfordshire last year, figures show.

The news comes as the probation watchdog says criminals sentenced to short prison terms are locked in a "merry-go-round" that leaves the public at risk and costs billions of pounds a year.

Ministry of Justice data shows that - of the 737 offenders in North Hertfordshire who were released from prison, received a non-custodial conviction at court or were cautioned by police between July 2016 and June 2017 - 211 went on to reoffend within a year, at 29 per cent.

Between them, they committed 883 new offences. They had each committed an average of 15.9 crimes previously.

The rate of reoffending was lower among juvenile offenders - 17 of the 66 under-18s went on to commit another crime within a year of being released from custody, given a non-custodial sentence or cautioned.

A report from HM Inspectorate of Probation highlighted shortcomings in the system for managing offenders in England and Wales.

It includes figures showing 64 per cent of adults released from custodial terms of less than 12 months re-offended within a year, committing crime estimated to cost the economy £7 billion to £10 billion per year.

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Earlier this year, Justice Secretary David Gauke said there was a "very strong case" for abolishing sentences of six months or less, with some exceptions, such as for violent or sexual crimes.

Chief Inspector of probation Dame Glenys Stacey said that such a move was "unlikely to be effective without other changes".

She added: "In my view, a system-wide approach as well as much more purposeful probation supervision is needed.

"Without it, individuals are locked in an expensive merry-go-round of criminal justice processes and the public are left at undue risk."

From 2015, every criminal given a jail term became subject to statutory supervision and rehabilitation upon release into the community.

Prior to the change, which was designed to reduce re-offending, convicts who had served less than one year did not have to be supervised by probation services.

But the inspection report found there had been "no tangible reduction" in re-offending.

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