Layla Moran

Case closed: Police write off 2.2 million unsolved crimes

At the moment millions of people are left without justice and rightly angry that criminals are getting away scot-freeAn investigation by Layla Moran MP has uncovered millions of crimes were closed last year without a suspect being identified, including homicides, rapes and burglaries.

2.2 million cases in England and Wales in 2019 were closed unsolved, according to an analysis by Layla Moran MP.
Data from the Home Office reveals that police in England and Wales abandoned investigations into more than 300,000 burglaries in 2019, with a third of forces closing more than 80% of cases before they were solved.  

West Midlands Police had the worst record on burglaries after 22,166 cases were closed without a suspect being identified – 89% of the total number recorded. Just 1,166 resulted in a suspect actually being charged.  In Surrey and Cambridgeshire, no suspect was identified in 85% of burglaries last year.
Two forces – South Yorkshire and Lincolnshire Police [paywall] – even abandoned homicide investigations before a suspect could be identified. 

Nationwide there were 68,848 stalking and harassment cases, 2,632 drug trafficking, and 4,637 weapon possession offences where no suspect was identified before the case was closed. In the West Midlands, no suspect was found in more than a fifth of all rapes.
Screening out crimes, in which a police force marks a case as requiring “no further action”, has increased rapidly over the last decade and grew from 361,180 in 2010 to 2.2m last year, equivalent to 43% of all crimes.
The practice has become the default with some crimes. As well as burglaries, more than half of all criminal damage and arson cases end up resolved this way. Where something was stolen from a vehicle, police failed to identify a suspect in 93% of cases.
Data obtained by Layla under the Freedom of Information law revealed that forces were routinely dropping investigations because of a lack of evidence. The Metropolitan police logged 482,587 cases, West Yorkshire police added 128,583, South Yorkshire Police had 65,225 cases and Greater Manchester Police added a further 86,211 cases to the colossal total.

  • Up to 92% of burglaries remain unsolved
  • Rapes, harassment and even murders remain unsolved
  • Nearly half a million unsolved cases alone in London

Lib Dem MP Layla Moran said:  "It is scandalous that we are seeing over two million crimes closed without further investigation by police forces. It's imperative that the police explore every avenue and act with compassion for the victims and their families when investigating these crimes. We are seeing murders, rapes, stalking cases and serious assaults filed, nothing happening for months, if at all, and reports just gathering dust in a police filing system. All the while victims are longing for justice.
"It is also vital that decisions made by the police about investigations, and the reasoning behind their decisions, are clearly and fully communicated with victims so they do not feel they have been left in the dark.
"At the moment millions of people are left without justice and rightly angry that criminals are getting away scot-free ."

Force Violence against the person Sexual Offences (including rape) Stalking & harrassment Robbery Theft Offences Burglary (domestic and non domestic) Criminal damage & Arson Drug Offences Possession of a weapon Public order offences Misc offences against society Total
Durham Constabulary 2110 250   65 10572   5314 53 17 909 181 19471
Staffordshire Police 1855 482 1014 291 9182   6184 34     10547 29589
Surrey Police 5832 361   193 10892 5395 7088 59   6350 114 36284
Cumbria Police 1245 183   734 1944 1419 4242 2 20 542 129 10460
Civil Nuclear Constabulary N/A N/A   N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Thames Valley Police 0 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 669 673

*Source: Layla Moran MP. The data was collected under the Freedom of Information act.

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