Criminals increasingly being charged by post including murder suspects

5 May 2020, 07:57

The number of postal charges has increased
The number of postal charges has increased. Picture: PA
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

The number of people being charged by police with crimes by post has increased, including murder and rape, according to reports.

The increase in the use of the technique has been attributed to new rules introduced around the police bail system.

The Met Police said in 2017 they sent two suspects letters charging them with murder in 2017, this figure increased to seven in 2018 and then 12 in the following year.

The Times newspaper obtained the information using the Freedom of Information Act.

Britain's biggest police force also more than doubled the number of people charged by post with rape from 43 in 2018 to 91 in 2019.

The data showed that postal charges increased from some 600 in 2016 to approximately 6,000 two years later.

The Times quoted the Metropolitan Police as saying that the rise in postal charge requisition (PCR) is "largely attributable" to an increase in cases where people were released under investigation without conditions, rather than bail.

"Suspects released under investigation are not obligated to return to a police station, and PCRs are therefore the only way police can notify suspects of charging decisions and when they are due to appear at court," police were quoted as saying.

Dame Vera Baird, QC, the victims’ commissioner for England and Wales, said the figures were “deeply concerning for victims and for society”.