Reported crimes being dropped by police

8 October 2018, 06:15


Up to a million reported crimes are being dropped with little or no investigation, it has been reported.

The figures are from a freedom of information request by Channel 4's Dispatches programme which asked police forces in England and Wales about cases which do not qualify for investigation after initial screening.

Dispatches says that many offences are logged and reported but never passed to an officer for investigation and that "nearly a million" crimes are treated this way.

Responses were received from 25 out of 43 forces.

The data from the Metropolitan Police is from 2016 and for 2017 in other cases.

Dispatches states that 27.02% of crimes were reported to have been screened out.

Higher figures were found in other forces including 32.89% in Warwickshire, 40.35% in Bedfordshire, 39.84% for Greater Manchester Police, 46.53% in West Yorkshire, 29.48% for the Metropolitan Police, 31.21% in West Mercia, 30.68% in Hampshire and that Avon and Somerset responded that 27.93% had been "filed and not allocated to an officer", according to the research.

Dispatches points out that there around 438,000 burglaries in England and Wales in 2017 and that 3% were solved.

Of the 21 forces who provided comparable data for burglary, 36.42% were being screened out, according to the figures.

The show noted there were more than 450,000 vehicle offences in England and Wales last year, including both thefts of cars and items from inside them.

Of the 21 forces who provided comparable data for vehicle offences, 59.51% were being screened out, Dispatches said.

Of the 23 forces who provided comparable data for sex offences, 3.26% were being screened out.

Marian Fitzgerald, visiting professor of criminology, University of Kent, told the programme: "It varies from force to force and some of them seem to be more gung-ho about screening out than others, but typically things like theft, criminal damage, vandalism, thefts from cars, interfering with cars.

"Those sorts of fairly commonplace offences, those are the ones that seem to be screened out fastest."

A Home Office spokesman said: "We expect the police to take all reports of crime seriously, to investigate and to bring the offenders to court so that they can receive appropriate punishment.

"The Government remains alert to changes in trends and new methods used by criminals and we will continue to work with the police, industry and others to consider the evidence and what more can be done to prevent these crimes taking place.

"The deployment of resources is a matter for chief constables and police and crime commissioners."