Europe

Chief Inspector warns low-value thefts should never be ‘screened out’

We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info

But Mr Cooke said if there is any chance of catching the criminal it should be taken, adding: “You can’t just write jobs off straight away, without making any inquiries.” He spoke after it emerged that in 2021/22 only 4.2 percent of thefts resulted in a charge or summons after thousands of cases were screened out.

In the same year there were 1.5 million thefts reported across England and Wales. The “screening out” of a crime means that it is not allocated to an officer and a decision of no further investigation is taken with 24 hours of it being reported.

This could be due to a lack of CCTV or witnesses, or it being deemed not to be in the public interest.

Mr Cooke said: “Every case needs to be triaged. But if forces say, ‘if it’s under £50 then we don’t investigate’, I don’t agree with that.

“It should only be screened out if there are no opportunities to identify the offender.

“Police should look at each case individually – at the forensic and investigative opportunities – and make their decision following that.”

In the British Retail Consortium annual crime survey report, published in May, it said: “There remains a perception among retailers that some police forces do not regard shop theft as a ‘real’ crime, particularly if it is under £200 in value.

“Such a perception is also held among repeat offenders – a significant proportion of the total – who are willing to take a risk in the belief nothing much will happen even if caught.”

The Sunday Express asked 20 forces if they have minimum-value theft thresholds, with Surrey, Hampshire and Avon and Somerset Police responding.

Surrey and Hampshire denied that value is a consideration.

However, Avon and Somerset said that a £50 threshold, while not ruling out an investigation, is part of the consideration.

Source: Read Full Article