Shocking data reveals huge number of investigations failed because police couldn’t identify suspect

Shocking data reveals huge number of investigations failed because police couldn’t identify suspect

A million theft cases go unsolved in just 12 months: Shocking data reveals huge number of investigations including domestic burglaries failed because police couldn’t identify a suspect

  • Analysis of crime data found 1.1million thefts went unsolved in the year to June 
  • Average burglar stole £1.4k worth of goods – dropped cases cost victims £140m
  • The number of dropped cases was up from 953,705 over the previous 12 months
  • 43 police chiefs for England and Wales pledged to attend all residential thefts

More than a million cases of theft and burglary were dropped over a year – more than 3,000 a day – because police couldn’t find a suspect.

Analysis of crime data found 1.1million thefts, including domestic burglaries, went unsolved in the year to June.

With the average burglar stealing £1,400 worth of household goods, it means dropped cases cost victims around £140million. The number of dropped cases was up from 953,705 over the previous 12 months but down slightly from 1.2million in 2019-20.

The analysis also found that the overall charge rate, which is the proportion of crimes that result in a suspect being arrested and charged, has fallen to a low of just 5.4 per cent. This is down from over 15 per cent seven years ago.

Analysis of crime data found 1.1million thefts, including domestic burglaries, went unsolved in the year to June

It comes after 43 police chiefs covering England and Wales this year pledged to attend all residential thefts. Such incidents can cause significant emotional harm to victims.

Martin Hewitt, of the National Police Chiefs’ Council, at the time said he hoped it would mean more burglary cases reach court.

MPs said yesterday’s figures showed police were spending too much time on areas such as ‘diversity’ training and alleged hate crimes on social media rather than fighting street-level crime. Police have also been criticised for taking up ‘woke’ causes.

Adam Holloway, who sits on the Commons home affairs committee, said the figures were ‘astonishing’. He added: ‘It doesn’t surprise me that [police are] not able to protect the public properly. There’s far too much time being spent on catching people who say something [allegedly criminal on social media], on thought crime. But that’s not what the public wants. They should be focusing on crimes that matter to the public.’

In September, Home Secretary Suella Braverman accused police chiefs of spending too much time on ‘diversity’, saying they should concentrate more on fighting crime. In a letter to chief constables, she reprimanded forces for failing to tackle offences such as burglary, car theft, graffiti and drugs.

Her intervention amounted to a call for a ‘back to basics’ approach to policing after Superintendent James Sutherland wore a rainbow helmet in support of an anti-homophobia campaign in Cambridge. Yesterday’s analysis, carried out by the Labour Party, also showed that two million investigations overall were dropped with no suspect identified, including over 300,000 violent crimes.

The party said that if it was in power, it would put 13,000 more police on the streets in a move funded by merging procurement for forces in England and Wales.

Yvette Cooper, Labour’s home affairs spokesman, said: ‘Theft and burglary are awful crimes and should be properly investigated, not just left for the victims to make an insurance claim.’

Separate figures show police forces failed to solve a single burglary in nearly half of the country’s neighbourhoods over the past three years. Of more than 32,000 communities analysed, 46 per cent had all their burglary cases in a three-year period closed with no suspect charged by police.

A Home Office spokesman said: ‘As the Home Secretary has made clear, we welcome the commitment for police attendance at home burglaries. We continue to support the police, including through record investment and the recruitment of 20,000 additional officers by March 2023.’

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David Churchill

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