According to figures released by the Home Office, nearly a half, or 49%, of all crimes that are reported to the police go unsolved. The figures also showed that an alarmingly high number of offenders were given cautionary warnings, including those accused of sexual offences. A massive 80% of burglaries do not result in the burglar being caught or prosecuted, which comes after the revelation that one police force only investigates break-ins if it occurred in an even numbered house.
Police have come under considerable scrutiny over the way in which crimes are investigated especially in recent years. Some groups have pointed to the austerity and cost cutting measures that have been introduced as the reason for many of the problems, but reports like these certainly won’t help the case of those forces that are trying to ensure that they continue to receive funding.
According to figures, it is highly unlikely that any investigation will take place or a conviction sought unless the suspect is believed to have carried out more than one home invasion. Less than 1% of incidents that are believed to be one-off offences make it to court, while only 20% of total burglaries lead to a conviction at all.
The figures show an alarming tendency to caution offenders, too. 1,425 sex offenders were given a slap on the wrist, along with 171 robbers. Critics have said that public support of and trust in the police will continue to dwindle as long as so few cases go to court, and while suspects of potentially serious crimes are let off with nothing more than a warning or caution.
In 49% of 3.5 million cases reported last year, the case was closed and ruled as “no suspect identified” and only 600,000 cases actually ended up with a charge or court summons. This means that nobody was charged or summonsed for more than 80% of the cases that occurred in 2014. Critics have said that the figures confirm that the Police have become little more than a crime reporting agency, rather than a crime fighting and solving agency.