In the Media

UK riots: hundreds of alleged offenders still facing trial

PUBLISHED May 3, 2012

Hundreds of alleged London rioters are still facing trial, according to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

The CPS is processing cases involving more than 450 people accused of taking part in last summer's disturbances across the capital. Of those, 200 are at trial stage. Every week around a dozen more cases are handed to the CPS for prosecution.

A CPS spokeswoman confirmed that a special team was set up in August last year in the aftermath of the unrest. Since then, more than 2,000 people have been prosecuted in London with an 83% conviction rate.

CCTV pictures, publishing photographs of suspects and pursuing leads mean investigations are producing fresh evidence to bring new charges. In some cases, individuals have pleaded guilty but are still waiting to be sentenced.

The latest official figures from the Ministry of Justice ? released in February ? show that across England, 2,710 people have appeared before courts.

Of these, almost 1,000 offenders have been jailed for an average of more than a year. A total of 945 of the 1,483 found guilty and sentenced for their role in the riots were jailed immediately, with an average sentence of 14.2 months.

The largest number of cases was in London where there had been 1,896 first hearings, followed by the West Midlands, 301 hearings and Greater Manchester, 240.

A substantial number of those who took part in the riots were young. According to the MoJ: "Comparisons by age show that 27% of those brought before the courts for offences relating to the public disorder were aged 10-17 (juveniles) and that a further 26% were aged 18-20. Only 6% of those appearing before the courts for the disorder were over 40 years old."

In appeals against lengthy riot terms, judges have warned participation in the riots was a severely aggravating factor. The appeals court said judges should sentence offenders to much longer periods in prison than for individual offences had been committed in isolation.