The proportion of crimes resulting in a suspect being charged or summonsed has fallen from 11% to 9%, with the figure even lower for incidents of robbery and theft, Home Office statistics suggest.

In the year ending March 2018 only 8.9% of robberies and 6.6% of theft offences resulted in a charge or summons. The figure for criminal damage and arson is just 5.5%.

The overall 2% decline in crimes resulting in a charge or summons equates to an annual reduction of 41,215. This continues a downward trend seen since the introduction of the Outcomes framework in the year ending March 2015, when 15% of crimes were resolved with a charge/summons, the Home Office said.

Commenting on the figures, Association of Convenience Stores chief executive James Lowman said: “Retailers are often frustrated by the lack of action taken against repeat offenders who cause significant problems in their stores through crimes like theft and abuse.

“There are a number of ways that the justice system deals with offenders, from fixed penalty notices to rehabilitation and convictions, but these must be effective in deterring criminals from reoffending. Retailers must have confidence that when they report a crime, it will be taken seriously by the police.”