SUSPECTS are far less likely to be charged with crimes in Greater Manchester than five years ago, new figures reveal.

Labour MP Yvette Cooper, who chairs the Home Affairs Select Committee, said a “worrying” fall in the number of crimes being dealt with nationally reflects years of high demand on police forces.

Home Office data shows a suspect was charged or summonsed for just four per cent of crimes recorded by Greater Manchester Police in the year to March.

This meant someone was charged or ordered to be in court on 3,128 occasions over the year – 16,371 fewer than the previous 12 months.

The rate is much lower than in the year to March 2015, when 16 per cent of crimes resulted in a suspect being brought to justice.

It reflected the picture across England and Wales, where the proportion of crimes resulting in a charge or summons dropped to seven per cent in the year to March, down from 17 per cent five years earlier.

Mrs Cooper, who described the figures as “extremely concerning”, said: “How can public confidence in the criminal justice system be sustained if fewer crimes are being dealt with and solved each year?

“The Home Affairs Committee has warned repeatedly that this is a consequence of police forces having been overstretched for many years, and a lack of a clear strategy or sufficient leadership from the Home Office to address this worrying fall in the number of crimes being solved”.

The Home Office said it is the responsibility of chief constables and police and crime commissioners to make sure criminal cases are investigated properly.

The likelihood of a crime resulting in a charge could vary by how severe or complex the cases is, or how difficult it is to identify a suspect, the department added.

Changes in charge rates are likely to be the result of more crimes being recorded by the police and forces taking on more complex cases which could take longer to resolve, a spokeswoman said.

The figures show 47 per cent of cases in Greater Manchester were closed as a result of no suspect being identified in the year to March, while the victim did not support further action in 21 per cent of cases.

Victims have become increasingly less likely to support police action nationally, figures show, with a record high 24 per cent of cases closed for this reason over the same period.

Five years earlier, the figure was just 10 per cent.

Marc Jones, performance lead at the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners, said overall, the figures show a “worryingly steady decline” in the number of suspects being charged or summonsed.

“People need to have confidence in policing and the criminal justice system and PCCs, as locally elected criminal justice leaders, will continue to drive a more accountable system anchored in the needs of our communities,” he added.