UK

Forensic Police Ignore Break-Ins At Odd Numbered Houses In 'Cost-Cutting Strategy'

05/08/2015 15:44 BST | Updated 05/08/2015 15:59 BST
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Attempted break-ins at odd-numbered houses were not investigated properly by police as part of an experiment to save money, it has been revealed.

Leicestershire Police said the three-month pilot was launched earlier this year to discover whether only fully responding to half of all attempted burglaries had any impact on victim satisfaction rates.

During the trial period, crimes at even-numbered houses were fully investigated, with forensic teams sent and fingerprints taken, but this would not happen if the victim lived in an odd-numbered house.

The force was quick to clarify that if a victim was deemed vulnerable, or the suspected burglary was part of a series of crimes, the property would be visited by officers regardless of house number.

Jo Ashworth, director of forensic sciences, at the East Midlands special operations unit, said the scheme was a test of how police could operate differently given pressure to cut regional budgets.

"The pilot was developed to look at what value forensic teams bring to the detection of attempt burglaries," she said.

"At a time when we are operating within reduced budgets, it is even more critical that we make the absolute best use of our crime scene investigators' time."

sir clive loader

The area's PCC said he would have advised against the scheme

Leicestershire's deputy chief constable Roger Bannister said: "The public would expect us to make the very best possible use of our time and limited resources to have the biggest impact on public safety and the prevention and detection of crime.

"This pilot suggests that we may need to reconsider how best to deploy crime scene investigators, especially if we are currently sending them automatically to scenes where, despite their professionalism and expertise, there is no evidence for them to retrieve."

But local police and crime commissioner, Conservative Sir Clive Loader, said he did not know about the scheme and would have advised against it taking place.

He added: "I appreciate that technically this is operational policing territory, carried out by an East Midlands collaborative unit, I believe that I should have been informed, principally because it was taking place in Leicestershire.

"Had I been consulted I would have advised against it, particularly in light of the controls chosen which, to me at least, are unlikely to inspire much public confidence."