According to recently-released police figures, a period of nearly three years has seen more than 26,000 suspects skip bail in the London area. Among this number are criminal suspects facing allegations of rape, murder, and child sexual abuse.
However, the Metropolitan Police have stressed that this figure includes suspects who skipped bail but were subsequently tracked down and arrested. It therefore does not mean that 26,000 people have escaped and disappeared to apparent freedom while facing criminal charges.
Furthermore, the figures are not confined to serious crimes such as sex offences and murder. They also include people who did not turn up to face minor charges in magistrates’ courts, with serious offences making up a much smaller portion of the total number.
Of these 26,000 people, 3,000 were accused of assault, actual bodily harm or grievous bodily harm. 198 of those who skipped bail over this period were facing allegations of sexual offences, who failed to turn up in court or to put their names on the sex offenders’ register. Of these, 47 were facing accusations of rape or of attempted rape.
Only three of the 26,000 suspects were facing charges of murder or of attempted murder. One person who skipped bail, Mohammed Ahmed Mohamed, was alleged to be involved in terrorist activities. Mohamed was one of the most high-profile disappearances in one sense, attracting media attention after absconding.
Other suspects to grab the media spotlight over the three year period after skipping bail include brothers Valodia and Jurius Tarasov. They were accused of manslaughter along with a third brother, Victoras. Valodia and Jurius both failed to turn up for court to answer to the charge of the manslaughter of Polish national Pawel Pacholak after they allegedly scared him into throwing himself out of a window. Valodia was promptly caught and arrested, and a warrant for the arrest of Jurius was also issued. This case was also notable for the complexities arising from the fact that the brothers were allegedly responsible for the death despite having not physically performed the killing.
Overall, the figures cover the period from the beginning of 2012 up to the 2nd August 2014. This means that the suspects in question absconded over a period of two years and eight months.
A spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police said that the force is “committed to maximising every investigative opportunity to bring offenders to justice swiftly and we aim to finalise investigations wherever possible during the first period of detention.”