ALMOST a third of crimes reported to Hampshire police are being dropped with little or no investigation, it has been reported.
The figures have come following 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 said 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, with forces on average dropping 27.02 per cent of crimes. Hampshire Constabulary’s figures were among the highest, with 30.68 per cent of crimes being screened. Other high figures found included 32.89 per cent in Warwickshire, 40.35 per cent in Bedfordshire, 39.84 per cent for Greater Manchester Police, 46.5 per cent in West Yorkshire and 29.48 per cent for the Metropolitan Police. Dispatches points out that there around 438,000 burglaries in England and Wales in 2017 and that three per cent were solved. Of the 21 forces who provided comparable data for burglary, 36.42 per cent 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 per cent were being screened out, Dispatches said. 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.’