Northants Police don’t fully investigate a third of crime

Northamptonshire Police screen out a third of crimes
Northamptonshire Police screen out a third of crimes

A third of crimes reported to Northamptonshire Police are not investigated because of a lack of evidence, witnesses or forensic evidence, according to figures.

The statistics, revealed in a Freedom of Information request, show that the force screened out about 33 per cent of recorded crime in 2012.

There were more than 48,000 recorded crimes in the county in 2012, according to Home Office figures, meaning that about 16,000 of these were not investigated.

According to Northamptonshire Police’s policy on screening, a number of factors are considered before a crime is either ‘screened in’ meaning it will be investigated further, or ‘screened out’, meaning there are no ‘solvability factors’.

The policy says key factors to be taken into consideration before a crime is screened are: “Seriousness of the offence, crime patterns, victim vulnerability, aggravating features such as racial motivation, hate crime factors, likelihood of identifying the offender and detecting the offence.”

Telegraph reader Andrew Tierney, from Beanfield Avenue in Corby, had his bike stolen from his garden last week.

He said: “We need to see more proactive policing.

“My bike had a high security gold standard D-lock on the frame and back wheel but they still took it and lifted it over a 7ft brick wall.

“Something needs to be done instead of just a crime number.

“How many crimes of theft from gardens, sheds and garages have actually been solved? I reckon a tiny percentage.”

Det Chief Supt Paul Phillips, head of crime and justice at Northamptonshire Police, said: “We complete an initial investigation on every crime recorded and visit about 70 per cent of all victims. The remaining 30 per cent have telephone interviews which in many cases will lead to a follow-up visit from a member of one of our safer community teams.

“Each crime is dealt with on an individual basis, with the appropriate level of investigation carried out for the evidence available at the time.

“In some cases there are no witnesses, is no CCTV coverage, no forensic opportunity and no clear time-frame of when the incident happened, and so no opportunity for further investigation. However, the investigation would be reviewed should any additional evidence come to light.

“Pursuing the investigation of crime to a successful conclusion is always our preferred outcome. While decisions must take account of policing priorities and available resources, it must be stressed that any offence that presents a genuine suspect does receive further investigation.”