With crime-solving at an all time low, who’s to blame?
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The proportion of crimes solved by the police has dropped to a catastrophic 7.8%, according to Home Office data. This means 92.2% of all offences in the UK and Wales lead to nobody being charged or sentenced. With all these reported crimes quickly turning into cold cases after a half-hearted effort by the justice system, why are the police surprised that the country has so little faith in them? With statistics like that, we are telling potential offenders that they are almost guaranteed to commit their crimes with no consequence: a message that will surely encourage them rather than deter them.
Many people might applaud Cressida Dick, Metropolitan Police Commissioner, for saying that crime-solving rates are “woefully low”, but what practical purpose does her commentary serve? There’s an important distinction between identifying a flaw and taking proactive steps to solve it. They say that admitting there’s a problem is the first step to solving it, but this isn’t new, sudden, or in any way surprising. We have seen a steady decline in crime-solving rates over the years. In 2018, for example, the proportion of crimes solved by police was 9.1%. A 1.9% decline might not sound like a lot, it is actually very significant and harmful if we are talking about figures this small. If we carry on at this rate, police will be solving 0% of crimes in five years from now.
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