UK Police ‘Screen out’ Nearly Half of Crime Reports While Every ‘Hate Incident’ Investigated

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Police have been accused of “ignoring crimes which aren’t easy to solve” after figures showed a steep rise in the number of cases UK forces close or “screen out” within 24 hours.

Freedom of Information requests found that police across ten UK forces gave up investigating 431,000 reported crimes within a day — a figure which has more than doubled from the 194,500 recorded in 2014, the Sunday Telegraph revealed.

While most of the reported offences dropped related to thefts, the number of violent crime cases shut within 24 hours quadrupled from 11,927 to 44,548 in the same period between 2015 and 2018 while sex crimes ignored surged from 703 to 1,605 in this period.

The National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) said: “Preventing and investigating violence and sexual offences is a priority for police forces. While there is an increase in sexual offences closed after initial investigation, it is less than one per cent of the total.”

“With more crimes and fewer officers on patrol it is taking longer to respond to incidents and there is increasing evidence that these delays hinder evidence collection, making it less likely that crimes will be solved,” it said.

While blaming a shortfall of staff for the rising number of crimes going uninvestigated, the NPCC last year defended figures showing officers wasted thousands of hours looking into almost 12,000 non-criminal ‘hate incidents’.

The law enforcement body praised as “vital”, protocol which sees forces required to proactively solicit reports of ‘hate’ from the public and to investigate every complaint with either phone interviews or sending officers out to make home visits.

Speaking to the BBC on Tuesday, chief constable Ian Hopkins from Greater Manchester Police (GMP) admitted the force was failing to properly investigate around 430 reported offences a day — 43 per cent of the total number.

Insufficient officer numbers and budget cuts have made “screening out” crimes on the basis of factors such as threat level and the likelihood of being able to solve the case a “necessary evil”, according to the UK force.

“If your life is in danger, you’ve been seriously hurt, we will still turn up,” Hopkins told BBC Radio Manchester.

“If there’s an immediate threat we will be there and we will be there in numbers.

“If your shed’s been broken into, your bike’s stolen, your vehicle’s broken into and there’s no witnesses, there’s no CCTV and there’s no opportunity for forensics, we’ll be screening that out really quickly.

“Your likelihood of a police officer turning up to deal with that is almost non-existent and that’s where the public have really started to feel it. That bit worries me.”

David Spencer, of the Centre for Crime Prevention think tank, slammed the figures, commenting: “The term screening out is clearly a PR phrase for ignoring any crimes that aren’t easy to solve, It is high time that the GMP and other forces gave a lot more focus to tackling these everyday crimes.”

GMP, which says that tackling the “abhorrent” phenomena of hate crimes and incidents “is a priority”, was highlighted as a shining example of how police should be dealing with the issue in a report last year from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Service (HMICFRS), which praised the force for its “positive and innovative practice” including the development of a “transgender toolkit”.

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