Police: We must do better

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A senior detective says Northamptonshire Police is working to improve its poor record in bringing offenders to justice.

New figures have revealed the force has one of the lowest rates of detections in the country.

A total of 23 per cent of crimes recorded in the county in 2011-12 resulted in a detection – which includes a person being charged, given a penalty notice or being cautioned.

This is the seventh lowest in England and Wales and down from 26 per cent the year before. The average rate is 27 per cent.

Det Chief Supt Simon Blatchly said: “In order to detect a crime we need something – has it been witnessed, is there a forensic lead? We also base a lot of it on intelligence. If we do get suspects we have to get them interviewed. There’s a range of factors that make up resolved crime. The detection rate is not where we want it to be and we are making every effort to try and get that down. We are going to make sure officers have got the top level of training in place so that we take every possible opportunity to chase down crime.”

Det Chief Supt Blatchly said one option the force was using was community resolutions, where victims of crimes such as criminal damage can opt for the perpetrator to apologise to them by way of punishment.

He said the level of detections varied by crime because of the nature of some crimes. He said: “With offences like drug offences, generally those will be detected because we have arrested someone attached to the drugs.

“Drugs offences is one of those where generally we have always got a suspect – another example of that would be handling stolen goods. Quite often with burglaries we get someone arrested for one burglary then they will clear up other offences.”

Det Chief Supt Blatchly said efforts were being made to improve the detection rate. He said: “We are working on the detection rate. It’s getting better. From the beginning of this performance year, April 1 onwards, it was low. We have had a focus on detections. It’s on the up now. We had a very poor start to the performance year in Kettering with burglary levels. We have put a lot of officers into Kettering, a lot of proactivity and made some good arrests.

“Crime levels are now back to where they were last year. We still need to bring them down, however that spike at the start of the year appears to have plateaued.”

Warwickshire has the lowest crime detection rate at 18 per cent.

FIGURES for 2011-12

13 per cent of crimes resulted in someone being charged or a summons being issued

Five per cent resulted in a caution being issued

One per cent of offences were Taken Into Consideration

One per cent resulted in penalty notices for disorder being issued

One per cent resulted in cannabis warnings being issued

Percentages of crimes which resulted in a detection:

34 per cent of offences of violence against the person

25 per cent of sexual offences

18 per cent of robberies

Nine per cent of burglaries

Eight per cent of offences against vehicles

20 per cent of other theft offences

23 per cent of fraud and forgery offences

12 per cent of criminal damage offences

93 per cent of drug offences

64 per cent of other offences