Nine out of ten home burglaries are never solved by police, figures revealed yesterday
Nine out of ten home burglaries are never solved by police, figures revealed yesterday.
Nearly 40,000 house break-in investigations were closed without a suspect ever being established.
Probes can be shut down within minutes if there are no clues.
In some instances, victims can expect little or no investigation, or a visit from an officer, unless they can supply evidence or name a suspect – meaning thousands of criminals are getting off scot-free.
Home Office figures show that of the 44,363 residential burglaries reported in England and Wales between April and June this year, 89.7 per cent ended without the villain being identified.
If the same rate was applied to the 235,335 domestic burglaries recorded in the year to June, it would mean around 211,000 were never solved because there was no suspect established.
Critics said the statistics were a national outrage – and would send the message that crime does pay.
The revelation will further harm public faith in the police at a time when officers are under fire for failing to attend the scene of many crimes.
It follows claims that police responses are being determined by a tick-box culture – denying some of the population a full investigation. But police chiefs have warned forces are struggling to cope following deep cuts to funding.
Yesterday Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman Sir Ed Davey said: ‘Cuts to policing have meant fewer resources to investigate burglaries and more criminals being let off the hook.
‘We cannot allow so many criminals to act with impunity in this way. More burglary victims will be let down unless our overstretched police are given the extra funding and resources they need.’
The figures emerged after the Home Office published the outcomes of criminal investigations carried out by all 43 of England and Wales’s forces and the British Transport Police.
It is the first time forces have published their residential burglary crimes. The new definition replaces the previous category for this offence – burglary in a dwelling – which did not include outer buildings like sheds or garages.
The figures lay bare just how unlikely it is the police will catch a burglar who steals from someone’s home
The figures lay bare just how unlikely it is the police will catch a burglar who steals from someone’s home. It came as the Office for National Statistics revealed all burglary had jumped 6 per cent to more than 423,000. It rose 21 per cent for domestic properties, but fell 8 per cent for non-domestic buildings, to 187,802, reflecting the definition change.
Police in Hertfordshire were least likely to catch home burglars, with 96.2 per cent of suspects never identified, followed by Hampshire (94.9 per cent), Bedfordshire (93.8 per cent), Leicestershire and Surrey (both 93.6 per cent).
In the year to June, almost half of all recorded crimes were never solved as police could not identify a culprit – meaning up to 2.2million offenders escaped scot-free.
For some offences, such as theft, as many as seven out of ten investigations were shut without a suspect being established. In many other cases there were issues with evidence or the case was settled out of court.
Only one in eight of all crimes probed by police ended in a charge or summons.
Some 4.5million crimes were assigned an outcome. Of these, 49.3 per cent were written off as ‘no suspect identified’. This was the case for 54 per cent of robberies, one in seven violent offences and 13.5 per cent of sexual attacks.
Earlier this week it was revealed that every police force in Britain was abandoning inquiries into thousands of low-level offences.
Call handlers are crossing off offences including vandalism, theft, burglary and anti-social behaviour in minutes if there are no clues or the victims cannot provide any evidence or name a suspect.
The worrying trend was revealed after the Metropolitan Police brought in guidelines meaning it will no longer probe many offences.
Officers have been told they do not have to investigate minor incidents of grievous bodily harm or car crime unless the victim identifies a culprit.
Crimes with a loss of less than £50 are also unlikely to be looked into, as are burglaries unless violence or fraud was used to gain entry.
The changes are part of a £400million cost-cutting drive that will see around 150,000 fewer crimes probed every year.
The Home Office stressed the figures could change if investigations are reopened to assess new evidence.
A spokesman said: ‘We are clear that all crimes reported to the police should be taken seriously, investigated and, where appropriate, taken through the courts and met with tough sentences. Decisions on individual investigations are an operational matter for chief constables.’