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Hard to solve criminal cases dropped by stretched police

By Pete Madeley | Crime | Published:

Police are ditching criminal investigations they believe they have little chance of solving due to the strain on force resources.

West Midlands Police chief constable Dave Thompson, left, says ‘challenging discussions’ were taking place over which investigations are pursued by officers

West Midlands Police chief constable Dave Thompson said the volume and complex nature of crimes dealt with by the force meant that ‘challenging discussions’ were taking place over which investigations are pursued.

He said crimes including theft from vehicles, criminal damage and public order offences may not get past the first stage of investigation.

Mr Thompson told the Express & Star: “We have to make difficult decisions over which crimes will result in us catching anybody.”

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Last year it emerged that the Metropolitan Police had curtailed investigations into shoplifting up to a certain value and criminal damage in a bid to save cash.

Mr Thompson said that WMP would not be following a similar path. However, he said a squeeze on resources meant the force was having to look carefully at which crimes it investigates.

“Every crime that is reported to us will have an initial investigation to see if there is anything there,” he said.

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“The decision we then have to make is does it move into secondary investigation because there is potential lines of inquiry.

“This is involving some challenging discussions. There is not a crime type we are saying we don’t investigate anymore, but actually we are having to make a decision which says, ‘is this likely to result in us catching anybody?’

"This is more likely to happen in the volume crime areas, thefts from vehicles, criminal damage, some of the public order cases.”

The number of police officers on the force has fallen from 8,626 to 6,758 over the last seven years.

Pete Madeley

By Pete Madeley
@P_Madeley_Star

Political Editor for the Express & Star. Responsible for local and national political stories, opinion, comment and analysis.

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