Action call over theft figures

More than two-thirds of theft cases in the Northumbria Police area were closed without a suspect being identified last year, new figures reveal.
Theft figures action call.Theft figures action call.
Theft figures action call.

Home Office figures show Northumbria Police closed 30,303 theft probes in 2021 – 69% of which had the outcome "investigation complete – no suspect identified" – up slightly from 68% in 2020.

A further eight per cent of all theft cases in Northumbria closed with a suspect identified and the victim supporting an investigation but "evidential difficulties prevented further action", while 14% were closed because the victim dropped the case.

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Just seven per cent resulted in a charge or summons – down from nine per cent the year before.

In the force area, 60% of stolen motor vehicle cases were closed with no suspects identified and 86% of thefts from vehicles concluded with no suspect being found.

The cases were among over one million unsolved theft offences in England and Wales, which charity Victim Support said undermines confidence in the justice system.

Jeffrey DeMarco, assistant director at the charity, added: “A million cases unsolved last year seriously undermines victims’ confidence in the criminal justice system.

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"Theft is a crime that must always be taken seriously by the police, and work must be undertaken to improve these shockingly low success rates.”

The National Police Chiefs' Council said forces will prioritise cases where there is a realistic prospect of prosecution, and ensure vulnerable victims have the support they need.

A Home Office spokeswomen said 20,000 extra police officers are being recruited to help prevent these crimes.