Public has ‘given up’ on failing police’s ability to crack crimes, watchdog warns
- Matt Parr said failure to investigate burglaries was ‘corroding’ bond with police
- Said public has ‘rumbled’ police’s capacity to deal with volume crimes as limited
- More than 22% of victims who made a report later retracted help from the police
The public have ‘given up’ on the police’s ability to solve crimes, Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary warned yesterday.
Matt Parr said the failure to investigate crimes such as burglary and car theft was ‘corroding’ the bond between the public and the police, adding that forces had been ‘rumbled’ as their ability to investigate cases declined, with many victims not bothering to report crimes.
Among ‘volume crimes’ such as break-ins, car crime and minor assault, only a tiny proportion of offences are investigated by police, with fewer still leading to offenders being caught.
The public have ‘given up’ on the police’s ability to solve crimes, Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary warned yesterday
Growing numbers of the public were ‘losing faith’ in the criminal justice system as a result, the police watchdog said. ‘It’s a complex and worrying issue that particularly in volume crime I think the public has rumbled that the police’s capacity to deal with this is extremely limited.
‘If you are the subject of a minor burglary, a minor assault or car crime, I think people have now got to the stage where their expectations are low and the police “live down” to these expectations because they simply don’t have the capacity to deal with it.
‘There are some startling figures about car crime but most of the public, far from reporting it, simply give up because the chances of anything positive happening are slim.
Growing numbers of the public were ‘losing faith’ in the criminal justice system as a result, the police watchdog said
He added: ‘It’s a genuine live issue. This level of volume crime rates is corrosive for the relationship between the public and police.’ As police concentrate their resources on crimes involving vulnerable victims, the majority of victims – who ‘do all the tax-paying’ – end up with a ‘less good service’, Mr Parr said.
He added: ‘That can’t really be allowed to go on because it’s corrosive of the bond between the public and the police.’
‘Jails will run out of space by 2020’
Crisis-hit jails will run out of space in two years despite plans to build two more prisons, an official report warns today.
The Whitehall spending watchdog said the Government could be left with nowhere to imprison offenders by October 2022.
The predictions by the National Audit Office were based on official Ministry of Justice forecasts published today.
The true picture is likely to be even more serious because the projections do not take into account pledges to make violent criminals serve longer sentences and scrap automatic early release for terrorists.
Currently, the Government is due to complete 3,500 extra prison places by 2025, including two new ‘super jails’ each housing more than 1,680 inmates at Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, and Glen Parva, Leicestershire.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has pledged a further 10,000 places on top of the 3,500. Even with that extra capacity, the NAO said jails could run out of space by as early as summer 2025.
Steve Gillan, general secretary of the Prison Officers’ Association, said ministers may be forced to release prisoners before the end of their sentences.
A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: ‘We will always have enough prison places to keep offenders behind bars.’
Mr Parr, a former submariner and Rear-Admiral in the Royal Navy, joined Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services, four years ago.
His remarks are the strongest yet by any official about the crisis in our police forces.
They came as he published a report which said plummeting confidence in the police was leading to growing numbers of crime victims to withdraw their support.
More than 22 per cent of victims who made a report later retracted their help from the police, up from 20 per cent the previous year, it said, in a vivid illustration of the public’s disillusionment.
‘Performance figures like that chip away at public confidence in the police and may well be part of the reason for that abandonment of victims’ support,’ Mr Parr said. There are ‘stark differences’ in the service victims receive from the police depending on where they live, the report said.
The worst-performing forces are Cleveland, Northamptonshire, Warwickshire and West Mercia, while two of the best are Northumbria and Merseyside.
‘It’s a patchwork across the country,’ Mr Parr said.
He added that there had been some ‘surprisingly negative volume crime resolution rates’ published in recent months.
In the year to September, just 5.4 per cent of theft offences led to a suspect being charged. For criminal damage it was 4.9 per cent and violent crime was 7.4 per cent. For car crime, the chances of police catching and successfully prosecuting thieves has fallen to just one in 400 cases. Only 0.25 per cent of vehicle theft and vehicle break-ins resulted in jail, a fine, community sentence or caution last year, compared with 1.1 per cent in 2017.
The report warned that the Government’s pledge to hire 20,000 police officers to replace the 22,400 lost between 2010 and 2017 would not be a silver bullet.
‘The planned recruitment… will not solve all the problems we see in policing,’ it said.
‘Gaining more officers will only mask poorer performance if forces fail to solve long-standing problems or are unable to effectively match resources to demand.’