Police must attend scene of every burglary in Merseyside amid ‘unacceptable’ charge rates

Home Office data shows the vast majority of investigations into break-ins are closed without anyone being brought to justice.
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Merseyside Police will have to attend all reported residential burgalries in the region after the country’s police chiefs announced a new policy.

The National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) made the statement after the Home Office released shocking new data:

  • The figures revealed that only 51% of burglaries reported nationally were attended by officers, in 2021-22.
  • Analysis also revealed that only 5% of burglary investigations led to a charge this past year.
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Police figures show that Merseyside’s charge rate is even lower than the ‘unacceptable’ national average.

The new policy is supported by Chief Constable of Merseyside Police, Serena Kennedy, who believes burglary to be ‘terribly intrusive and upsetting for victims’.

Merseyside Police Chief Constable Serena KennedyMerseyside Police Chief Constable Serena Kennedy
Merseyside Police Chief Constable Serena Kennedy

Deputy Chief Constable Ian Critchley, at Merseyside Police said: “Both the current Chief Constable, Serena Kennedy, and her predecessor, Andy Cooke, have taken a tough stance on burglary.

“The force is committed to tackling burglary by not only maximising every opportunity to gather evidence, identify offenders and put them before the courts, but also through its partnership approach to prevention.

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“This is why officers are despatched to all reports of a residential burglary and the attendance of Crime Scene Investigation is also requested. There are very few circumstances when an officer would not attend, for example if the person reporting is not engaging with officers, which can make it difficult to arrange a visit, or they have specifically asked that an officer does not attend. But even then, we would still explore opportunities for CSI to recover forensic evidence.”

Image: Adobe StockImage: Adobe Stock
Image: Adobe Stock

His Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Constabulary and former Merseyside Police Chief, Andy Cooke said: “The current low charge rates for these crimes are unacceptable and unsustainable – there needs to be a concerted drive to address this issue because it directly affects the public’s confidence in the police’s ability to keep them safe.”

He said there was a “postcode lottery” across England and Wales, with some victims more likely than others to get a thorough investigation from their force.

What does the data show for Merseyside?

Police figures compiled by the Home Office show that Merseyside’s charge rate is even lower than the ‘unacceptable’ national average.

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Across England and Wales, only 5% of burglary investigations resulted in a suspect being charged or asking for the offence to be taken into consideration by the courts in 2021/22.

A burglar tries to break in an open window with a crowbar. Image: Gina Sanders - stock.adobe.comA burglar tries to break in an open window with a crowbar. Image: Gina Sanders - stock.adobe.com
A burglar tries to break in an open window with a crowbar. Image: Gina Sanders - stock.adobe.com

In Merseyside, the charge rate is 3.9%. Hampshire had the lowest charge rate in the country, at 2.6%.

Out of 5,141 closed bulgarly cases between 2021-22 in Merseyside, only 189 resulted in a suspect being charged or summonsed.

In 4,241 of the cases, police failed to identify a suspect at all.

How is Merseyside Police tackling the issue?

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Detective Inspector Steve Byrom said: “We have a dedicated burglary team called Operation Castle, who focus on hotspot areas and particular types of burglary.

“Since Operation Castle was launched in 2018, the team has successfully reduced the number of burglaries by 55% in the region and secured convictions for burglary offenders with sentences amounting to more than 600 years in prison.“As a result, the number of reports of burglary crimes reported to Merseyside Police has decreased, and has done since Operation Castle was established four years ago.

“It is also important to note that the detection rate for burglaries was 6% in 2020 to 2021, and since the beginning of this year the detection rate is at 5%. The fact that there is less burglary crime means that we are targeting the correct offenders and getting them the jail time they deserve.

“Burglaries can have a massive impact on the person and families affected as they have had their home invaded which is an awful experience to go through, and can often have a long-lasting impact on victims. “Every sentence handed down makes the communities of Merseyside and beyond safer from the harm, distress and inconvenience that burglary brings.

Contacting Merseyside Police

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Detective Inspector Steve Byrom said: “We encourage people to come forward if you know anything about a burglary or someone acting suspicious in your area, either directly or anonymously via Crimestoppers. We act on all information provided.

“We have a dedicated portal where people send CCTV, smart doorbell or dashcam footage of suspicious activity in your area but don’t know if it is linked to a specific offence. It can be uploaded here: https://unitedkingdom1cpp-portal.digital-policing.co.uk/merseyside/appeal/castle

“Your footage will be reviewed for potential links to reported offences in your area, and may help us gather evidence to solve burglaries and bring offenders to justice.”