A recent report in the Telegraph, has highlighted the fact that newly published statistics have shown as many as four out of five burglaries go unsolved. The data has in turn initiated fresh debate, on exactly how police forces respond to the crime of burglary.
Last month, the Home Office published the figures and subsequent analysis of the information demonstrated that just 6.6% (that’s 1 in every 15 burglaries) actually led to a court summons or charge being brought about. Indeed, during 2014/2015 various police forces across England and Wales did not identify a suspect and therefore closed the burglary case in 80.2% of their investigations.
Police Chief Constable Sara Thornton, has recently made headlines for stating that due to staff cuts and funding losses, the police might not always be able attend crime scenes following burglaries. Chief Constable Thornton mentioned the possibility of victims of burglary forwarding evidence to the relevant police force, via the internet.
Leicestershire police force initiated a trial in only holding forensic investigations at burglaries that occurred at ‘even house numbers‘. This was in a bid to try to manage the staffing cuts and lack of funding for the force. The conclusions of the pilot study, were that the lack of forensic presence at addresses with an odd house number, bore no impact on victim satisfaction of the case.
1.1% of burglaries are “taken into consideration” when courts are processing cases of criminals convicted of more than one offence, crime outcome figures suggest. Out of the 4.3% of burglary investigations where a suspect is actually identified, problems with the evidence of the case mean that a conviction was deemed impossible.
The Director of the charity Victim Support, Karen Froggatt, stated …
“We know the police do their best, in challenging circumstances, to catch offenders and make sure that they are brought to justice … Nevertheless it is disappointing that eight in 10 burglaries go unsolved. Not only does this mean that the vast majority of burglary victims are denied justice and see no chance of having their possessions recovered, it also means offenders are free to re-offend … Victims of crime need to have confidence that the police are making every effort to catch offenders so, where a case is closed without a suspect being identified, it is important that victims understand the reasons why … Victims tell us they suffer far more than lost possessions when their home is burgled. There can be a lasting effect on the whole family and victims often feel violated as their home is no longer a safe haven. Knowing a burglar is still at large can also add to a sense of anxiety and stress for victims.”
Mr Gareth Morgan, Deputy Chief Constable, is a lead on burglary within the National Police Chief’s Council. He has said …
“When it comes to the investigation of burglaries, it is not a question of if we will investigate, but when – all burglary crimes will be investigated and responded to … Research has shown us how to prevent repeat burglaries and that taking basic crime prevention measures work. Burglary rates are now at their lowest for thirty years … The best chance of achieving a successful outcome in a burglary investigation is either through the perpetrator being apprehended at the scene or by the retrieval of forensic material which can identify a perpetrator.”
The Home Office has stated that the police should investigate and take seriously, all crimes that are reported to them.
A spokesperson at the Home office has said …
“Decisions on individual investigations are an operational matter for Chief Constables based on the evidence available to them and investigations can be reopened at any time should further evidence come to light.”
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With thanks for the use of the photo of the Metropolitan Police Headquarters to Man vyi in the Public Domain.