AS the son of a police officer who served for 30 years from the early 1960s and having an uncle who did the same, I grew up in an urban environment where police seemed to be everywhere and many knew my relatives – in a good way!
Looking back with rose-tinted spectacles, it’s easy to idealise and romanticise policing as it was then and easy to ignore societal changes that have altered the service our police forces deliver.
Cybercrime and similar fraud were essentially non-existent, and communities have become less coherent with a car dominated commuter paradigm rising to the fore.
However, it’s fair to state that in some respects, that service has deteriorated to the extent many crimes are essentially ignored with little or no expectation they will be solved.
Nationally, over 67% of burglaries are unsolved, with Dorset worryingly being one of the highest at over 76% and here only 2% of all burglaries resulted in a charge or summons.
The Liberal Democrats’ Freedom of Information requests have also uncovered shocking figures on police attendance of burglaries. Nationally, almost four in ten burglaries in the country did not result in a visit to the scene by a police officer.
The figures were based on data provided by 19 police forces in England. Our own Dorset police force refused to provide the data but there is definitely a post-code lottery as to the level of response you can expect.
Recently Ed Davy called for a new ‘Burglary Response Guarantee’, which would create a guarantee that all domestic burglaries are attended by the police and properly investigated. This, of course, will require a return to proper community policing – where officers are visible, trusted, and have the time and resources needed to focus on solving crime
It is shocking that so many burglaries in our community are going unsolved by the police. No family should be denied justice after suffering the distress and trauma of being burgled.
And the issues are elsewhere, too. Fewer than a quarter of car thefts were attended by police forces across England and Wales last year, figures show. Of the forces which responded, they reported 47,228 incidents of car theft in 2022 and 10,963 of police arrivals, meaning only 23% of incidents were attended. The 47,228 figure is also up 30% year-on-year from 35,734.
Since 2015, the Conservatives have taken more than 4,000 Police Community Support Officers off the streets, while they look set to have broken their key promise of having recruited an extra 20,000 police officers by the end of March 2023.
With crime rates on the rise and so many cases of all kinds going unsolved, it’s clear that this is a party that cannot get even the basics of policing right.
The recent introduction of the need for Voter ID to tackle essentially non-existent voter fraud is a prime example of this. Don’t forget your ID if you are voting in the BCP elections on May 4!
On behalf of South Dorset Lib Dems