Burglary, robbery and theft victims failed by police – watchdog

Crime / Thu 11th Aug 2022 at 08:20am

MOST victims of burglary, robbery and theft in England and Wales are not being given the justice they deserve, the police watchdog says reports the BBC.

Her majesty’s chief inspector of constabulary, Andy Cooke, calls current low charge rates “unacceptable and unsustainable”. 

Some forces tackle these crimes well – but many do not, his report says.

The report, based on findings from force inspections by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) in 2021-22, highlights while some tackle these crimes effectively, others:

  • miss opportunities to identify and catch offenders, at all stages from when a crime is first reported
  • fail to give victims advice on crime-scene preservation during the initial call – in 71% of the cases examined
  • lack investigative capacity and experience, made worse by a national detective shortage
  • fail to supervise investigations properly – in a third of cases
Statistics for Harlow: May 2021 to May 2022

The report comes soon after the most recent Home Office figures showed just 6.3% of robbery offences and 4.1% of thefts in England and Wales resulted in charges, in the year to March. 

Too often forces’ digital, forensic, technological and analytical capability is not good enough to let them carry out thorough investigations, the report says.

They must improve their approach to serious acquisitive crime – offences such as personal robbery, theft from a person, theft of and from a motor vehicles and domestic burglary. 

And by March 2023, all police forces must ensure:

  • burglary, theft and robbery crime scenes are managed according to national standards
  • investigations are effectively supervised and directed 

“Burglary, robbery and theft are not minor crimes,” Mr Cooke says.

“There needs to be a concerted drive to address this issue because it directly affects the public’s confidence in the police’s ability to keep them safe.”

A lack of experienced officers too often means these crimes are investigated poorly and inadequately supervised, “often because supervisors themselves are inexperienced and overstretched”, he says. 

And many detectives feel “disengaged and devalued and frustrated that they can’t give the quality of service that the victims deserve”. 

National Police Chiefs’ Council acquisitive crime lead Deputy Chief Constable Amanda Blakeman said they would look at the findings in detail “and work to assist forces in implementing improvements”.

“We absolutely recognise how invasive and traumatic it is to be a victim of these serious offences,” she added.

College of Policing chief executive Chief Constable Andy Marsh said the report was “absolutely right to recommend the full adoption of existing national standards”. 

“Only by taking a consistent approach will we fully protect the public and not let burglars off the hook,” he added.

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8 Comments for Burglary, robbery and theft victims failed by police – watchdog:

David Summerville
2022-08-11 10:24:13

I have never understood why you need a degree to become a Police Officer---my son was clever and served 20 years in Thames Valley receiving several commendations--he was accepted in those days without a degree, like most of his colleagues. There are too many police officers who use their degree to obtain faster promotion and lack the experience to do the job effectively. Good academic ability and common sense and empathy are what is needed--not a First Class Honours.

Mark Ingall
2022-08-11 11:38:53

Cuts to police numbers has consequences. Recent recruitment has not come close to replacing those cut by the Conservative government since 2010.

Karl White
2022-08-11 11:46:52

I had stuff stolen out of my vehicle left on my drive, Reported to police, no one came to look, no one asked the houses if they had cctv of the vehicle, literally sent me a crime number and said claim on your insurance its all we can do. I was absolutely gutted. Music related gear collected over years. Obviously shouldnt have left it in my van over night but there has been no action since to say we have tried to locate your stuff etc.

2022-08-11 13:19:09

Karla,this same happened to me twice Such a poor respond from Police.

Bruce Downey
2022-08-11 14:06:51

Bad news keeps coming, needs root-and-branch reform sooner rather then later.

2022-08-11 16:39:14

We need Batman!

2022-08-11 17:20:20

Just think of all the taxes we pay and all we ever here from the public sector is excuses and demands for more. When they utterly fail to provide the basics of the service they are supposed to provide. It is not about money, it about misallocation of resources, on a grand scale. Most officers above inspector rank should be fired for poor performance.

David Forman
2022-08-12 21:04:06

It is not just the numbers if police officers cut by Conservative led governments. More importantly is the number of highly experienced officers who took voluntary exit, voluntary redundancy or made compulsory redundant. Add to this the detrimental effect on morale and the reduced mentoring of junior officers.

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