Burglars least likely to be caught as one in four offences reported in Northamptonshire go unsolved

No suspect could be found in a quarter of all crimes reported in Northamptonshire during 2016.

Thursday, 2nd February 2017, 9:51 am
Updated Thursday, 2nd February 2017, 9:53 am
Those who commit burglary and car crimes are the most likely to get away with it, analysis of the 2016 Northamptonshire figures shows.

An analysis of all 81,926 offences reported to Northamptonshire Police last year has revealed more than one in four (26 per cent) of investigations ended up with “no suspect” being identified.

Of those figures, more than one in five (22.6 per cent) were burglaries and just over 20 per cent were classed as car crimes.

August saw a spike in burglaries and, as a result, a rise in the number of crimes where no offender was found.

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Just over half of all crimes recorded in August which were not classed as anti-social behaviour incidents did not see a culprit identified.

Police and Crime Commissioner for Northamptonshire Stephen Mold admitted more needed to be done to tackle burglary.

He said: “We have 2,000 very talented people looking after 723,000 people [in Northamptonshire], by its very definition we are going to have some crimes we cannot devote as much resource to as we would like.”

But he added that, with dwindling resources, the force has to prioritise certain offences.

He said: “If you were an officer and you had to choose between going to a rape, or a case of child sexual abuse, or a shed burglary, where would you go?”

But he admitted there was a great deal of work to do to bring the unsolved crime figures down.

He said: “I agree in many ways we do need to do a better job.”

The figures show sexual and violent crimes make up less than 10 per cent of the offences where no suspect could be found.

However, Mr Mold said that catching burglars will form an important part of his Police and Crime plan for 2017/18, set to be revealed at County Hall today.

Among the 2,000 people consulted in drawing up the plan, several cited burglary as a real worry.

Plans to put 30 more officers on the beat in the county will go some way to bringing that figure down, Mr Mold believes.

He also wants to reduce the amount of time officers spend on back-office tasks and recording crimes, but increase crime prevention advice.

However, he said burglaries were inherently difficult to solve.

A burglar may only end up being charged with “handling stolen goods” as, without witnesses, it is hard to place suspects at the scene.

At County Hall today (Thursday) Mr Mold will call for the force’s council tax precept to be raised by two per cent to increase the force’s spending power.

The increase would come into effect from April.