Police chiefs have announced that all home burglaries in England and Wales will be attended by the police. National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) chair Martin Hewitt said: “Some police chiefs have struggled to achieve attendance at all burglaries with limited resources and balancing an increase in complex and highly harmful crimes.
“But burglary is invasive and can be deeply traumatic. We want to give people the peace of mind of knowing if you experience that invasion, the police will come, find all possible evidence and make every effort to catch those responsible. That’s a critical part of the contract between the police and public.
“We’re also asking for the Home Secretary’s help so police chiefs can focus more resources on solving crime and raising confidence.”
As background, a recent report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) called for police forces to go back to basics; the inspectorate recommended that forces improve crime scene management and ensure proper supervision of investigations. Nor, they reported, do police do all they can to help victims; most police personnel did not give victims any advice on crime-scene preservation during the initial call.
In an open letter to police chief constables and PCCs in England and Wales, and in her speech to the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham, Home Secretary, Suella Braverman called for common sense policing and the basics. In the letter she said: “To put it simply, the public want to know that an officer will visit them after a crime such as burglary. They want to feel safe in their cities, towns and villages. This is not just about doing your day job well, it is also about victims needing to feel supported and not ignored.”
Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (APCC) chair Marc Jones welcomed the decision. “As police and crime commissioners, we have been engaged with all policing bodies on this issue as we know that burglary is an incredibly invasive crime. We know how important prioritising action in this area is to the public.
“As part of this, we strongly support the view that the way in which crime is recorded must be reviewed. We must be transparent with the public and ensure the statistics reflect the true nature of crime occurring in our neighbourhoods.
“We also want to work with our partners to ensure that the role of our police service is made clear. The pressures on police forces, including from dealing with mental health issues, continues to have a profound impact on police resources, and this must be addressed if we are to ensure forces have the resources and ability to deliver on this commitment.
“PCCs will continue to hold forces to account, and we remain committed to investing in initiatives and schemes to prevent burglary and support victims in our local communities.”
Photo by Mark Rowe: Brighton, city centre.