Only 4% of burglars were prosecuted in Merseyside last year - lower than ‘unacceptable’ national average

Home Office data shows the vast majority of investigations into break-ins are closed without anyone being brought to justice.
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Fewer than 1 in 26 burglary cases reported to Merseyside Police in the space of a year resulted in a suspect being charged, shocking data has found.

Analysis of Home Office statistics found that of 5,141 burglaries investigated by the force in 2021-22 almost 4,241 of the probes were closed without a suspect being identified.

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Image: Adobe Stock
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It comes as police forces are attempting to rebuild public confidence that crimes are being investigated, with the new commissioner of the Met Police in London recently announcing that officers will attend every burglary report that comes in.

Sir Mark Rowley told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that the crime was “too serious an intrusion” not to have a police officer attend.

He said it is unacceptable that the proportion of reported burglaries attended by an officer from the force has fallen to 50%. And in August, the police watchdog ordered forces to improve their response to burglaries, thefts and robberies.

In a damning report, His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary said forces were missing opportunities to identify and catch offenders.

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His Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Constabulary Andy Cooke said: “Burglary, robbery and theft are not minor crimes. They are crimes that strike at the heart of how safe people feel in their own homes or communities. 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.

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.

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

Out of 5141 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.

What’s been said?

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: “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.”