Almost half crimes reported to police are not investigated
ALMOST half the crimes reported to Greater Manchester Police are not being investigated, we can reveal – including most theft, shoplifting, burglary, criminal damage, arson and public order offences.
The number of violent crimes not followed up by officers has also quadrupled in four years.
Murder and drugs possessions offences are now the only two categories of crime to have bucked that increase since 2014. Police chiefs have blamed sharp cuts to officers numbers under austerity, but one MP has warned the force’s leadership seems to have ‘given up.’
Since 2014, the number of incidents reported to Greater Manchester Police has rocketed by nearly three-quarters, according to figures released to our sister paper the M.E.N. under the Freedom of Information Act.
At the same time more and more incidents have been ‘screened out,’ with no officer allocated to look at them. Some 47 per cent of reported incidents were not investigated last year, compared to 39pc three years earlier. That included more than three-quarters of vehicle offences and thefts such as pick-pocketing and bagsnatching, 70pc of bike thefts, 62pc of criminal damage and arson reports and most burglaries.
One-in-four crimes listed as ‘stalking or harassment’ are not being looked into, as well as a fifth of weapons possessions. Where around 19pc of shoplifting offences were screened out in 2014, in 2017 the figure had shot up to 62pc. And while all murders have been investigated, there has been a sharp rise in the proportion of other violent crimes that have not.
Last year more than 17,000 violent offences – many of which resulted in injury – were screened out, almost four times more than in 2014.
There also appears to have been a gradual increase in the number of rape offences screened out, although the numbers are still low.
In 2014, 13 reported cases were not investigated, while 26 have already been left with no officer assigned to them in the first eight months of this year.
The latest figures also indicate just how much pressure the police force is under. Data for last year and this year to date – which the M.E.N. has compared to figures released to the Liberal Democrats last year, covering 2014 to 2016 – show a sharp increase in the volume of crimes reported to the force.
GMP said it had recorded 194,000 crimes in 2014, compared to 335,000 last year – a rise of 72pc.
The parallel trends have been reflected in growing anger within communities across Greater Manchester about a lack of police presence or investigation. In the summer Oldham MP Jim McMahon warned ‘justice has left the town’ following a steep rise in crime, but shortly afterwards chief constable Ian Hopkins said that without extra money to replace the 2,000 officers Greater Manchester had lost under austerity, the public would need to ‘accept’ the current situation.
However, Graham Stringer, MP for Blackley and Broughton, said part of the reason for the current situation still lay with the force’s leadership.
“These figures are an indication that something is seriously wrong with the protection of the public,” he said.
“The government has unreasonably starved the police of resources but the indications are that the police haven’t re-adjusted in line with the public’s needs.
“The police must stop sending out messages from the top that indicate to the police officers on the street that they have given up.”
GMP is not the only force to have seen an increase in the proportion of crimes it screens out, however. A Dispatches documentary shown on Channel 4 last night issued similar FOI requests to police forces across the country and found 27pc of offences in England Wales are now being screened out.