Al­most half crimes re­ported to po­lice are not in­ves­ti­gated

Rochdale Observer - - WHAT’S ON WITH ALL ACROSS THE ARTS LISTINGS - Jen­nifer.wil­ @JenWil­liamsMEN

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.

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