Alarm as police fail to solve more than half of all crimes

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Police are failing to solve half of crimes, including nearly three-quarters of cases of theft, criminal damage and arson, figures suggest.

Data from 28 police forces in England and Wales, excluding the Metropolitan Police, showed that in April and May this year 52 per cent of crimes were classed as “investigation complete, no suspect identified”, meaning the case is closed unless new evidence comes to light.

This happened in 73 per cent of criminal damage and arson cases, 72 per cent of thefts and 56 per cent of robberies, according to figures released by the Home Office, which stressed that the investigations could be reopened later.

Adam Pemberton, assistant chief executive of Victim Support, said: “It is alarming that so many serious crimes remain unsolved. Victims want to know that the police are doing all they can to investigate the crime committed against them. Investigating a crime is a matter for police, who also have a duty to keep victims informed and explain decisions made about an investigation.”

The Crime Survey for England and Wales yesterday revealed that crime has fallen to its lowest level since 1981. Despite this, the number of offences recorded by police remained level for the first time in a decade.

Humberside Police saw a five per cent rise in crime in the year to March, excluding fraud, while South Yorkshire and West Yorkshire recorded falls of one and two per cent respectively. North Yorkshire Police saw no change.

Despite the increase, including big rises in violence without injury offences, robberies and shoplifting, Humberside Police chiefs said crime levels were significantly lower than a decade ago.

Deputy Chief Constable David Griffin said: “Furthermore, the latest published figures refer to crime up to the end of March 2014 but in the three months since then recorded crime has taken a downward turn again.”

In South Yorkshire, there were big falls in the number of house burglaries after the county force’s Operation Lockdown to tackle the problem, though there was a 17 per cent rise in violent offences, a much higher increase than the national average.