Cash-strapped South Yorkshire Police axes ‘cold case’ team investigating historic offences

A specialist police team investigating historic unsolved crimes has been disbanded to save money, South Yorkshire’s county force has announced.

Rachel Barber of South Yorkshire Police

South Yorkshire Police says it has axed its cold case investigation team, with all the cases now being handed over to CID detectives to take on along with their normal workload.

The force says despite the decision cold cases are “constantly under review” and that “each case has now been assigned to an investigating officer”.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Chief Superintendent Rachel Barber, Crime Manager, said: “We never lose sight of our unsolved cases and while it is a blow to lose our dedicated cold case investigations team, working within the budgetary constraints meant that keeping this unit going was no longer financially feasible.

“We have found the most appropriate way to manage this situation in the current economic climate, by assigning each case to an investigating officer who is responsible for monitoring and chasing up any enquiries, should any new information come to light.

“However, our efforts and resources are primarily focussed on active and emerging cases of serious crime, as these investigations are current and pose a higher risk to the communities and public of South Yorkshire.

“We understand how difficult it must be for those families who have lost loved ones who don’t yet have any closure, but where new evidence or lines of enquiry are discovered, they should be assured that these claims will be investigated and followed up.”

South Yorkshire’s oldest cold case is Anne Dunwell, 13, who was sexually assaulted, strangled and left naked at the foot of a manure heap in Maltby in 1964.

South Yorkshire Police has to save £49.2m between 2011 and March 2015. But it is committed to paying the legal fees of former officers appearing before the new Hillsborough inquests and may face a further bill for compensation to victims of child sex abuse in Rotherham.