The odds on police attending your burglary
The police are struggling to investigate crimes such as burglary and car thefts damaging public confidence in the force.
That’s the damning verdict of the organisation’s own watchdog which found people are not reporting crimes such as attempted burglaries or car thefts because they doubt the police will be able to help.
Matt Parr, an Inspector at Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) also warned victims faced a postcode lottery when it came to the chances of their reported crimes being investigated, depending on where they lived.
While policing generally was is in good shape, the inspectorate said, a decline in resources coupled with rising demands in low-level or volume crimes was putting public faith in policing in jeopardy.
“The levels of volume crime resolution are corrosive for the long-term relationship between the public and police,” he said.
“The police capacity to deal with these is extremely limited. There are some strikingly low figures about car crime resolution meaning most of the public simply give up reporting it because the chances of anything positive happening are so slim.”
In London, the Met Police has come under fire after announcing it will no longer attend many low-level crimes such as burglary unless victims are in danger or a suspect can easily be identified.
And Leicestershire Police were recently vilified for a trial scheme where they only attended burglaries at homes with an even door number.
The money-saving scheme – designed to test the effectiveness of the force’s deployment of forensic officers created a media storm around the fact residents with odd-numbered houses would be helpless.
Parr said questions needed to be asked whether society was prepared to tolerate a situation where so much volume crime wasn’t being properly investigated.
The comments come following an inspection of all 43 forces in England and Wales which found the likelihood of the police bringing someone to justice following a criminal investigation is decreasing.
In England and Wales, a suspect was charged in 7.8% of recorded crimes last year, down from 9.1% the year before. Police are failing to investigate two-thirds of burglaries with many forces having stopped routinely attending burglaries in person, opting instead to deal with victims on the phone.
Even when a full investigation was launched, less than six per cent of burglaries resulted in a prosecution – the lowest figure for more than a decade.
Police leaders have insisted they continue to take burglary seriously but are forced by dwindling budgets to prioritise other more serious matters such as terrorism, violent crime and sexual offences.
For victims the outcome is devastating with burglary remaining one of the most upsetting and traumatising of all offences.
Diana Fawcett from the charity Victim Support said: “Burglary not only robs victims of their physical possessions – it can also rob people of their sense of security at home, a place where everyone should feel most safe.
“It’s vitally important that all reports of burglary are taken seriously and that victims have access to the support they need to help them cope and recover.”
Facts and figures
400,000 were recorded last year – around half took place at people’s homes.
130,000 burglary investigations across England and Wales were closed last year without any suspect being identified.