Almost three quarters of investigations into residential burglaries are closed by Cleveland Police with no suspected culprit in the frame.
Police say victims remain at the heart of what they do despite figures showing almost three quarters of investigations into residential burglaries are closed with no suspected culprit in the frame.
Between April 2017 and March 2018, investigations into 4,463 residential burglaries were closed by Cleveland Police and Durham Constabulary with no suspect identified.
Across three offence types – including theft or unauthorised vehicle taking, shoplifting and residential burglaries – thousands of probes were shut with no suspect identified, according to Home Office figures.
Police chiefs say increased demand and reduced officer numbers mean they have to prioritise cases where there is a realistic chance of prosecution.
For Cleveland Police, probes into 61% of theft or unauthorised taking of a motor vehicle offences, 74% of residential burglaries and 35% of shoplifting offences are closed before a suspect is identified.
Assistant Chief Constable Adrian Roberts said: “In Cleveland our priority is to keep victims at the heart of what we do and to protect the most vulnerable members of our communities.
“Working together with partners we will continue to tackle crime, focussing on those crimes that present the highest levels of threat, harm and risk to victims.
“We have strong performance in investigating crimes and identifying suspects, being within the top third of forces nationally in 2017/18.
“However, there is never room for complacency. We take all reports of crime seriously and, particularly in terms of burglary and theft or unauthorised vehicle taking, officers target prolific offenders whilst ensuring that crime prevention measures are in place by homeowners and businesses.”
He added intelligence from the community is very important and people should always come forward if they can help with any investigations.
Durham Constabulary closed probes into 59% of theft or unauthorised taking of a motor vehicle, 31% of shoplifting cases, and 69% of residential burglaries for the same reason.
The revelations prompted warnings from a victims’ charity that victims could be put off reporting offences, while Labour MP Yvette Cooper, who chairs the Commons Home Affairs committee, said failing to identify suspects gives criminals a “green light to reoffend”.
A Home Office spokesman said: “We expect the police to take all reports of crime seriously, to investigate and to bring the offenders to court so that they can receive appropriate punishment.
“However we recognise that crime is changing and police demand is becoming increasingly complex.
“That is why we have provided a strong and comprehensive £13 billion funding settlement to ensure the police have the resources they need to carry out their vital work.
“The Government remains alert to changes in trends and new methods used by criminals – and we will continue to work with the police, industry and others to consider the evidence and what more can be done to prevent these crimes taking place.”