According to an investigation by the Sunday Telegraph, thousands of victims of violent and sexual crimes are being denied justice after a surge in the number of offences closed by police without being solved within 24 hours.
The investigation found that in the four years to 2018 the number of crimes recorded and then closed within a day more than doubled from 194,500 to 431,000.
The figures were gained from 10 forces who responded in full to Freedom of Information requests. If you scaled that up to the full 43 police forces in England and Wales as many as two million crimes are being closed within 24 hours of being reported by victims which works out at around 40 per cent off all offences excluding fraud.
Police say that in face of a 22,000 reduction in officer numbers since 2010 they have to prioritise investigations into violent or high-value crime.
Some forces have even admitted to screening out thefts where less than £50 is taken as it is not cost efficient to investigate. Thefts and vehicle offences account for the biggest numbers of “screened out” offences but over the past four years, there has been an increase in violent and sexual crimes closed within 24 hours.
Sex offences which were recorded and then closed within a day rose from 703 to 1,605 from 2015 to 2018, whilst offences of violence against the person closed within 24 hours more than quadrupled from 11,927 to 44,548 in the same period.
Baroness Newlove, Victims’ Commissioner for England and Wales said the figures risked undermining victims’ confidence in the criminal justice system.
“For a police force to be closing a case without a bona fide investigation does not offer victims the recourse they rightfully expect and deserve if a crime has been committed against them,” she said.
John Apter, chair of the Police Federation, which represents rank and file officers, said: “I ask the Government – what message does this send? What does this do for public confidence in policing?
“The natural reaction to these figures is to blame the police but in reality, chief constables are being forced to make decisions based on financial pressures over operational policing needs. This is not a position they should be put in.”