Shipley MP Philip Davies is demanding tougher sentences after he uncovered figures for England and Wales which show more than 240 serious criminals walk free from courts every day while only 28 are sent to prison.

Mr Davies’s research also found men are twice as likely to be given a custodial sentence than women.

Figures released to the Conservative MP show that last year a total of 63,177 first time offenders escaped a prison sentence and a total of 7,176 were sent to jail for crimes including violence, burglary, robbery, theft, sex offences, drug crime and other crimes serious enough to be given a sentences of at least six months. Mr Davies said that meant if a court sat every weekday of the year, 243 criminals avoided prison each day and 28 were given a custodial sentence which he claimed made a mockery of the system. He said: “These figures clearly show that serious offenders are escaping prison for crimes that most people would believe should come with a custodial sentence.”

A breakdown shows sexual offence crimes saw one in three people sent to prison, compared with one in 19 drug offences and one in seven burglars. For all crimes, which include motoring offences, 4.3 per cent of first offenders were sent to prison last year.

Mr Davies also said overall figures show women are apparently treated more leniently than men. Last year of 46,428 women convicted of their first offences a total of 1,078 or 2.3 per cent were sent to prison.

In comparison 6,490 of the 127,647 men or 5.1 per cent who were convicted of their first crime went to jail. A spokesman for the Ministry of Justice said the disparity could be explained by the nature of crimes being different between the sexes.

“It is the case that violent crimes, for instance, tend to be carried out much more by men,” he said.

“Crime is falling, and under this Government those who break the law are more likely to go to prison for longer.”


Court sentences

Violence against a person: 12,309 crimes, 988 prison, 11,321 non-custodial sentence
Sexual offences: 3,290 crimes,1,208 prison, 2,082 non-custodial sentence
Burglary: 2,604 crimes, 336 prison, 2,268 non-custodial sentence
Robbery: 1,567 crimes, 309 prison, 1258 non-custodial sentence
Fraud and forgery: 7,921 crimes, 1,453 prison, 6,468 non-custodial sentence
Theft/handling stolen goods: 25,006 crimes, 884 prison, 24,122 non-custodial sentence
Criminal damage: 2,512 crimes, 82 prison, 2,430 non-custodial sentence
Drug offences: 18,357 crimes, 979 prison, 17,378 non-custodial sentence
Other indictable offences: 6,976 crimes, 937, prison, 6,039 non-custodial sentence
All figures relate to first time offenders who received their first reprimand, warning, caution or conviction for a recordable offence committed in England and Wales.