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Wiltshire Police Federation

63 per cent of of Swindon crimes go unsolved

9 August 2019

Swindon Advertiser

THOUSANDS of crimes went unsolved last year in Swindon, new figures has shown. Of 17,303 reported offences, 10,962 were unsolved between July 2018 and June 2019.

In north Swindon there were 5,743 cases with no further action taken by the police and 5,219 cases in south Swindon.

This amounts to 63 per cent of the overall case outcomes for each area, according to police.uk.

A case is said unsolved until a suspect has been identified, charged or tried.

Those figures show a high number of cases ending with no suspect identified – 3,125 in north Swindon and 2,771 in south Swindon – or closed as police were unable to prosecute suspect – 2,558 in north Swindon and 2,384 in south Swindon.

A spokeswoman for Wiltshire Police said that cases are closed with no further action for many reasons, including when a case has been fully investigated, no suspect has been identified and there are no further lines of enquiry.

Other reasons include when a suspect is identified but there is not enough evidence to prosecute, or when a victim does not want to engage with police or support a prosecution.

Reacting to the figures, Wiltshire Police lead for crime, justice and vulnerability, ACC Mark Cooper said:

“We have previously acknowledged that our outcome rate for crimes is something we have needed to address, but this is something we have been working hard to improve and we are already seeing the benefits of this.

“We are now above the national average for getting positive outcomes for all types of crime ie, when investigation results in either a charge or summons, as well as other out of court disposals and community resolutions.

“Our Community Policing Teams have put in a huge amount of effort to improve investigative standards and it is reassuring to see that this is having a positive impact.

“It is also worth remembering that there are many other factors which influence our ability to solve crimes. We have been strongly encouraging the public to report crime and when this is combined with improved recording practices, means we are seeing a rise in recorded crime. Sometimes victims will not want to support a prosecution, or it is difficult to get the required level of evidence needed to prove a case.

“However, we remain committed to ensuring all victims of crime receive the best possible service.”

ACC Cooper told the Adver in June that he will continue to review cold cases and that “no case is closed” until he is still concerned.

But John McGhee, who was attacked three months ago by two burglars in Old Town while he was walking home from the pub, is still waiting for the police to solve his case.

He said: “I am a bit amazed that they haven’t been caught by now.

“I don’t feel safe anymore in Swindon, especially in the Old Town area.

“It used to be a quiet place to live. I have no idea why it has changed.”

CCTV images have been released shortly after the assault, but police are still investigating the case.

Police and crime and commissioner for Wiltshire and Swindon Angus Macpherson is pleased by the outcome rate for crimes.

Compared with last year, these figures went slightly down, with 12,204 unsolved cases between 2017 and 2018.

He said: “I am pleased to see that our outcome rate for crimes has risen following some hard work by the force to improve recording practices, investigations as well as encouraging members of the public to report crime in the first place.

“Crime outcomes is a complex subject, it is not just down to charges and court appearances.“I am keen to explore other ways of dealing with offenders – the traditional way of arresting and charging is not always appropriate.”