Only one in four recorded crimes is being punished by the courts, according to the latest figures for sentencing released yesterday by the Home Office.
The statistics, for 2003, show that police recorded just under six million offences. However, only just under 1.5 million offenders were sentenced during the year. The figures do not take into account serial offenders.
The Government has been criticised for this "justice gap" and has acknowledged that the number of offences dealt with by courts should increase as a percentage of recorded crime.