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Crime reporting

March 22, 2006
On the same day that PC Copperfield gave an insight into the administrative albatross of crime reports in The Policeman’s Blog: “DETECTING”, news that Humberside Police have “stopped investigating minor crime”. (Full story here)

I can’t see why this Hull policy should be attracting news attention. What they are doing (or not doing) is prioritising the workload. If a report comes in with no witnesses, no forensic, no suspects and no obvious lines of investigation, it gets filed. To do anything else is a waste of time.

There are officers who hang on to these reports, whether it is in the vain hope that a miracle will occur or under the misconception that clutching onto a load of smelly old crime reports will stop more being allocated. Experience will tell you the likelihood of detecting a crime and if on first view it seems the report will go nowhere, then tell the victim. They appreciate the truth and being told (in the nicest possible way) that there is no apparent hope of a clear-up is better than giving someone false hope.

Even filed crime reports are kept for years, so when someone coughs it in four or five years time in a pang of conscience, the report can be pulled out and cleared up.

The biggest cause of complaints from members of the public is not being told what is going on after they report a crime. The right approach from the start would avoid all this. If officers didn’t make promises they can’t keep and pick the phone up every few weeks, if only to say the case is still being worked on, then there would be less dissatisfaction. What would also help is if we were given time to actually investigate the reports instead of filling out yet another bloody Home Office inspired form!

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Donna permalink
    March 24, 2006 07:47

    I remember being burgled (twice) in Sheffield. It was only once I had detected my own proof that the perpetrator was the person in the flat above me, that any serious effort was put in to catching the culprit. (which is fair enough, police can only go so far without a warrant)

    But I heard basically nothing; I didn’t know that there were police officers camped outside the flats for days, or that he was caught, or that he had been sentenced, or what the sentence was, and when my equipment came back it still had forensics powder all over it, with no advice to go about how to remove the fingerprint powder.

    I had to chase the officers to find out that they had been camped outside, that they had caught the twit, and that he had got 100 hours community service; and then to add insult to injury, my landlady gave me notice to quit, fearing reprisals.

    Instead of being told, and impressed, with the effort that the police were putting in to catching him, I was left in the dark, feeling empty and forgotten. At leat a mushroom gets fed on ….! 🙂

  2. Stan Still permalink
    March 25, 2006 14:38

    After April 3rd, there is a new “Victim’s Charter” coming into force, which makes it compulsory for police officers to keep victims informed of outcomes. If someone is arrested as a result of a crime complaint, the victim has to be told within 24 hours.

    Sounds simple, but I bet it doesn’t get done. Sometimes, the easiest things are the ones that are the hardest to get done.

  3. Mark permalink
    March 27, 2006 22:03

    Anyone know if the “Victim’s Charter” will affect only England & Wales, or if the Scottish Executive is introducing something in parallel in Scotland?

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