Great Britain

Eight in 10 household burglaries in West Yorkshire closed without police identifying a suspect

EIGHT in 10 household burglaries in West Yorkshire are closed without police identifying a suspect, data reveals.

The Police Federation says urgent funding is needed to reverse a situation which is "soul-destroying" for officers, as well as concerning for residents.

Home Office figures show that of the 14,381 residential burglaries reported to West Yorkshire Police in 2018-19, 80% were closed with the outcome listed as "investigation complete – no suspect identified".

In 8% of cases, a suspect was identified and the victim supported an investigation but "evidential difficulties prevented further action", while a further 2% of cases were closed because the victim declined or was unable to support any further investigation.

Raids of garages, sheds and outbuildings are included in the figures, as well as home burglaries. Distraction burglaries, which are recorded as a separate offence, are not included.

Just 4% of residential burglaries reported to West Yorkshire Police last year resulted in someone being charged or summoned to court, down from 5% in the previous year.

John Apter, chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said: “Having your home burgled can be one of the most devastating and impactful crimes people experience; and its effects can last a lifetime.

“Every police officer joins the job to help people and catch offenders. These statistics will be as soul-destroying for them as they are worrying to the public.

“And with many forces struggling to cope with 999 call demand, and others unable to fill detective positions, it is not surprising some crime types are becoming harder to prosecute.

“What the service so desperately needs is a long-term funding deal to enable all forces to return to a position where they are properly resourced to meet the demands they face."

A recent report following an inspection of all 43 police forces by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services found that the likelihood of police bringing someone to justice following a criminal investigation of any kind is decreasing.

In England and Wales, a suspect was charged in 7.8% of all recorded crimes last year, down from 9.1% the year before.

A Home Office spokesperson said: "The Government is keeping our communities safe by recruiting 20,000 extra police officers and launching the Safer Streets Fund to tackle crimes like burglary and theft.

"We recognise the impact that crime can have on its victims and we want offenders charged and brought to justice in the courts.

"Chief Constables and Police and Crime Commissioners are responsible for setting priorities, which reflect the concerns of the people they serve, but we expect them to take all forms of crime seriously."