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Express & Star comment: We want action on burglaries

By Star Comment | Opinions | Published:

Only one in every 13 domestic burglaries committed in the West Midlands is ever likely to be solved.

In the terms of policing nomenclature, that is a clear-up rate of just eight per cent. And that is not just pathetic, it is unacceptable.

No-one who has ever experienced a burglary at their home, or their office, is in any doubt of the deep impact such a crime has on the victims.

The sense of violation of one’s personal space, the pointless damage and the loss of often irreplaceable personal treasures is something that leaves a deep scar in the soul.

Our communities deserve better than this. As far as the criminals are concerned, a figure of one in 13 is nothing less than an invitation to commit crime.

Such slim chances of ever being caught, for the scum who commit these offences, make it a worthwhile gamble.

Even the police themselves admit concern over ‘a low clear-up rate’. And so they should.

Figures show that out of 19,523 domestic burglaries last year, police made 2,266 arrests while prosecutions were brought against just 1,530 offenders.

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West Midlands Police Deputy Chief Constable Louisa Rolfe said: “Burglary is an operational priority for us.”

But at the same time Deputy Chief Constable Rolfe also revealed officers had attended just two thirds of the burglaries, which now include garages and sheds.

And of course the police say that while crime is going up, funding for the force from Government “has fallen massively”.

Crime Commissioner David Jamieson says: “I am driving efficiencies and keep officers on the street where people want them, but ultimately West Midlands Police still has fewer resources to fight crime than it did previously.”

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For the victims of thousands of unsolved burglaries, that sounds like an excuse, like passing the buck back to central Government. And it won’t wash.

The police force is there to protect citizens, to find and arrest the offenders and put them before the courts. Everything else it does is, to be honest, a luxury that we can do without.

At the same time Theresa May, as a former Home Secretary, will be more aware than many in her Government of the need to tackle burglaries. We are tired of excuses. We want action. We deserve nothing less.

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