Daily Mail


Nearly 1,000 criminals, including murderers, paedophiles and rapists, are at large despite having been recalled to custody.

Ministry of Justice figures show 914 criminals are on the run even though they have committed new crimes or breached the terms of their release. The total includes 22 recalled between 1984 and 1999. Those wrongly on the streets include 18 murderers, five paedophiles and 17 convicted of carrying guns.

Police should find 75 per cent of recalled prisoners classified as high risk ‘emergency’ cases within 74 hours and three quarters of standard recalls should be completed within six days. But since 2007 nearly 10,000 criminals were not back in jail within the target time.



In 2009, 2,660 criminals received non-custodial sentences for indictable offences – serious enough to be tried at Crown Court – despite being cautioned or convicted between 51 and 75 times, almost double the 1,605 total in 2007. The number of offenders who avoided immediate custody, despite having between 16 and 25 previous convictions or cautions, rose from 25,000 in 2007 to 28,000 last year.

In total, 3,500 people escaped prison sentences in 2009 despite having more than 50 previous convictions or cautions – compared with 2,182 in 2007. In 2009, 20,913 offenders - who had been convicted or cautioned between 26 and 50 times - received non-custodial sentences – compared to 16,367 in 2007. The law defines a persistent offender as someone convicted or cautions for three or more separate offences.


Last year, in 3,018 cases, offenders who were convicted of burglary were spared a prison sentence despite having 15 or more previous convictions, according to Ministry of Justice statistics.