Leicestershire Police Only Investigate Half Of All Burglaries
Recently it was reported in the Press that Leicestershire Police had conducted a 3 month trial in which victims of burglary were subject to a ‘post-code lottery’ of sorts – that only properties with an even number would be investigated.
This was not a full representation of the trial as the Police have clarified that the trial applied to victims of ‘Attempted Burglary’ and only related to the attendance of ‘Scene of Crime Officers’ – not that no officer would attend.
Leicestershire Police has issued the following statement as a response to the claims:
“Accordingly, earlier this year a three month pilot project was run in the Leicestershire Force area. Under the pilot, it was decided that only half the scenes of attempted break-ins in Leicestershire would be visited by forensic officers to assess whether attendance or otherwise had any material impact on either investigative opportunities or victim satisfaction rates.
As a condition of accepting to host the trial, Leicestershire Police stipulated that all reported scenes of attempted burglaries would be visited by a police officer, and that any scene involving a vulnerable victim or believed to be part of a series of crimes would be visited by forensic officers.
For the purpose of the pilot, and to establish control samples, it was decided that properties which were the scenes of attempted burglaries with even house numbers would be visited, and those with odd numbers would not.
The pilot project found that the attendance or otherwise of forensic officers had no noticeable impact on victim satisfaction, and nor did it impact on the overall ratio of scenes visited and suspects identified.
It also produced useful data about the length of time crime scene investigators spent travelling to, and examining, potential crime scenes and the effectiveness of such activity in identifying suspects.
The findings of the pilot will be closely scrutinised by EMSOU Forensic Services before any decision is taken about whether the five East Midlands Forces change their policy regarding the attendance of forensic officers at scenes of reported attempted burglary.”
– Leicestershire Police statement
Leicestershire’s Deputy Chief Constable Roger Bannister said the pilot was just one piece of a whole programme of research to help develop the most cost effective policing model to protect the public.
“This pilot suggests that we may need to reconsider how best to deploy crime scene investigators, especially if we are currently sending them automatically to scenes where, despite their professionalism and expertise, there is no evidence for them to retrieve.”
Sara Thornton, speaking in her position as Chair of the National Police Chiefs Council even went as far as suggesting that in the future victims of crimes be in a position to have to collect their own evidence and send it to the Police “as we all have access to more technology it is easy to envisage how victims might be able to quickly upload photographs or video on to digital crime reports that could enable officers to be sent to catch the offender much more quickly.”
So at a time when the police are under pressure to reduce costs and under pressure from increased demands on their time it is important that homeowners take every step possible to help protect themselves from becoming victims of crime. Homes with no security measures in place are five times more likely to be burgled than those with simple security measures. Good window locks and strong deadlocks can make a big difference.
The Police.uk website gives the following guidance:
- Lock your doors and windows every time you leave the house, even when you’re just out in the garden, remembering to double-lock UPVC doors
- Hide all keys, including car keys, out of sight and away from the letterbox (remember a device could be used to hook keys through the letterbox)
- Install a visual burglar alarm
- Install good outside lighting
- Get a trusted neighbour to keep an eye on your property
- Leave radios or lights in your house on a timer to make the property appear occupied
- Make sure the fences around your garden are in good condition
- Secure bikes at home by locking them to an immoveable object inside a locked shed or garage
- Keep ladders and tools stored away; don’t leave them outside where they could be used to break into your home
- Ensure side gates are locked to prevent access to the rear of the property
- Ensure rear fencing is in good repair
- Improve natural surveillance at the front of your property i.e. trim high hedges
- Mark your property with postcode and house number and register your property for free with the UK National Property Register https://www.immobilise.com/
- Consider joining or forming a Neighbourhood Watch scheme
- Remove valuables from view of ground floor windows
- Store any high value items (i.e. jewellery, passports) in a properly secured safe or bank vault
They advise you to make your home look like someone is living in it when you are going away on holiday:
- Use automatic timer-switches to turn your lights and radios on when it goes dark
- Cancel any newspaper or milk deliveries
- Use the Royal Mail’s ‘keepsafe’ service – mail sitting on your doorstep is a sign that you are away
- Speak with a neighbour – can they help you by collecting your post, opening and closing curtains, maybe they could park their car on your driveway
- Avoid discussing holiday plans on public social networking sites – burglars can use any information you post on there to their advantage
The Forrest Williams Team
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