Prince’s Trust instead of prosecutions - 95% of West Midlands burglaries see no court action

West Midlands Police looking to send burglars on Prince’s Trust schemes as1,2719 burglaries result in no prosecution
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West Midlands Police investigated 15,000 burglaries last year - 2021 to 22 - but a whopping 1,2719 cases closed without a suspect being prosecuted.

Analysis of Home Office statistics by our data team found that just 4.4% of burglary cases reported to Birmingham in the space of a year ended with a suspect being charged or summoned to court - that’s 95.6% going undetected, the shocking data shows.

The statistics come as police chiefs across the country have pledged to send an officer to every single burgled home. Writing in the Daily Mail, the National Police Chiefs’ Council chairman Martin Hewitt, said: “We want to give people the peace of mind of knowing if you experience that invasion, the police will come, find all possible evidence and make every effort to catch those responsible.”

Meanwhile West Midlands Police has admitted to BirminghamWorld that prosecutions are not possible without no witnesses, CCTV or forensic evidence. The force said it was also looking at alternative ways to prosecute offenders - such as putting them on Princes Trust schemes rather than sending them to court.

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Here’s a closer look at the West Midlands Police burglary stats for last year - and why prosecutions didn’t take place?

The Home Office data shows that in 2021-22 WMP closed 1.4977 investigations into burglaries from domestic properties across the city-region. Of those, just 4.4% of the cases ended with a suspect being charged or summonsed to court or an offender asking for the break-in to be taken into consideration when they appeared in the dock.

There were 568 charges or summonses, while 86 cases were taken into consideration. However, a massive 12719 investigations were closed with no suspect being identified.

Of these in 540 cases where there were problems with the evidence - even though a suspect had been framed and the burglary victim supported police action being taken. A further 945 cases did run into evidence difficulties and a lack of support for the case going further from the victim.

There were 35 cases where further investigation was deemed not to be in the public interest, 16 which were formally settled out of court and 22 which were informally settled without the courts becoming involved.

In addition there were 0 cases where prosecution was prevented or not thought to be in the public interest, and four cases where the responsibility for further investigation was transferred to another body.

West Midlands Police patrolsWest Midlands Police patrols
West Midlands Police patrols

How does this compare to other police forces across the country?

The rate of 4.4% of burglary probes ending with someone being charged or ending up in the dock in court puts WMP below the England and Wales average of 5%.

Devon and Cornwall had the best detection rate in the country at 10.5% of cases were closed resulting in a charge or summons. This was followed by Suffolk (10.3%) and South Wales police(9.2%).

Hampshire had the lowest charge rate, at 2.6%.

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What has West Midlands Police said about the figures and why are they sending burglary suspectes on Prince’s Trust schemes?

A spokesman for the force, said: “We don’t underestimate the impact on residents of knowing an intruder has been in their home and our neighbourhood officer patrols are targeted in areas where criminals have struck.

“We are committed to following the trail of evidence where we can - but if an investigation finds no witnesses, CCTV or forensic evidence then the chances of a conviction being secured are vastly reduced.

“As a force we now look at ‘outcomes’ to crime reports and not detection rates which have traditionally just captured people who have been formally punished through the courts. So a positive outcome for a young offender may now be a placement on a Prince’s Trust course and mentoring rather than criminalising them. Such outcomes are used when it’s believed to be the best way of reducing crime and influencing an offender’s behaviour.

“We also run regular operations to target specific crime types. Operation Cantil has been running since 2017 to target car thieves and offenders who break into homes to steal car keys. We use our traffic police who work overnight and into the early hours of the morning on the lookout for offenders in intelligence-led patrols.”

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