Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Most Wanted: 1,000 Dangerous Criminals on the Run in London; TASKFORCE TO HUNT DOWN SUSPECTS WHO SLIP THE NET

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Most Wanted: 1,000 Dangerous Criminals on the Run in London; TASKFORCE TO HUNT DOWN SUSPECTS WHO SLIP THE NET

Article excerpt

Byline: JUSTIN DAVENPORT

ALMOST 1,000 dangerous criminals including rapists, robbers and even a suspected murderer are on the run in London, the Evening Standard can reveal today.

They are among a total of more than 14,500 suspects at large in the capital after absconding from the justice system.

The scale of the problem has forced Scotland Yard to set up a special fugitive taskforce to trace the "most wanted" offenders.

Detective Chief Superintendent Mark Heath, who is in charge of the Met's criminal justice action team codenamed Operation Emerald, today revealed for the first time the extent of the operation to track down the offenders.

He said: "This is the biggest operation of this kind we have ever conducted."

Already the unit, which works in "unprecedented" co-operation with the Crown Prosecution Service, has had startling success - with the number wanted for serious offences slashed by 41 per cent from a total of 1,633.

Mr Heath said: "Our message to people who do not turn up at court is - we will come looking for you and we will use everything in our power to track you down."

He warned that police would now be far more rigorous in their pursuit of suspects.

Most of the wanted failed to turn up at court after being arrested by police and then bailed. Others have been convicted in their absence and are wanted after failing to turn up for sentencing.

Officers emphasise that only six per cent of the total, about 944, fall into the more serious category - murder, robbery, burglary, sex offences, hate crime and assaults.

The remainder are wanted for theft, criminal damage and motoring offences.

Since the unit was launched almost a year ago, the number of suspects wanted by the courts has been cut from 17,000 to 14,500, with a national total of 120,000.

Scotland Yard's review followed mounting concern over the number of people attempting to escape justice.

When a defendant fails to appear in court, the judge or magistrates issue a warrant for his or her arrest. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.