Fewer than half of the criminals brought to justice by authorities in England and Wales are taken to court, it was revealed today.
A watchdog said offences are increasingly being dealt with by a slap on the wrist or an on-the-spot fine.
Stephen Wooler, chief inspector of the Crown Prosecution Service, said: “There has been a decline in recent years in the number of prosecutions both in absolute terms and as a proportion of offences brought to justice.
“Typically, prosecutions now count for between 40 per cent and 50 per cent of the offences brought to justice within a criminal justice area.
Half of criminals are never prosecuted