No suspect identified in 8 out of 10 burglaries in Dorset

No suspect identified in 8 out of 10 burglaries in Dorset

Published by Maria Greenwood at 7:37am 14th September 2018. (Updated at 7:53am 14th September 2018)

Increased demand and reduced officer numbers means cases are being prioritised where there's a chance of prosecution.

Dorset Police close investigations without identifying a suspect in eight out of 10 household burglaries and seven in 10 reported vehicle thefts, new analysis shows.

They also ended almost a quarter of shoplifting cases with the same outcome.

Across the three offences, around 3,300 investigations in Dorset were shut with no suspected culprit in the frame, the Press Association found.

police stop and search

The revelations prompted warnings that victims could be put off reporting offences, while criminals are given a "green light to reoffend".

Police chiefs say increased demand and reduced officer numbers mean they have to prioritise cases where there is a realistic chance of prosecution.

The figures were extracted from Home Office crime outcomes data, and cover the 12 months to March 2018.

They show that out of the 2,298 household burglary cases opened over that period by Dorset Police, 80% were categorised as "investigation complete - no suspect identified".

This is used when a reported crime has been investigated "as far as reasonably possible" and the case is closed pending further investigative opportunities.

Of the total burglary cases, Dorset Police brought 119 people to court.

Alex Mayes, of charity Victim Support, said: "News like this could undermine confidence in the criminal justice system and prevent people reporting in the future."

Police officers

Of the 673 vehicle thefts recorded in Dorset, 70% ended up with no suspect being identified, while in the 4,147 shoplifting cases, 986 of them were closed with the same outcome.

The police charged 52 suspects with car theft, and 1,073 for shoplifting.

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.

"However we recognise that crime is changing and police demand is becoming increasingly complex. That is why we have provided a strong and comprehensive £13 billion funding settlement to ensure the police have the resources they need to carry out their vital work."

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