Figures reveal three-quarters of West Yorkshire theft cases were closed without police identifying a suspect last year

Three-quarters of theft cases in West Yorkshire were closed without police identifying a suspect last year, figures reveal.

By PA Data Reporter
Thursday, 5th May 2022, 11:46 am

They were among over one million unsolved cases of theft across England and Wales, which charity Victim Support said undermines the public's confidence in the justice system.

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Home Office figures show West Yorkshire Police closed 63,211 theft probes in 2021 – 76% of which had the outcome "investigation complete – no suspect identified".

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Across England and Wales, one million theft offences were closed without a suspect being found. Credit: PA Wire

This was up slightly from 75% in 2020.

A further 10% of all theft cases in West Yorkshire closed with a suspect identified and the victim supporting an investigation but "evidential difficulties prevented further action", while 5% were closed because the victim dropped the case.

And just 7% resulted in a charge or summons – in line with the year before.

Across England and Wales, one million theft offences were closed without a suspect being found – 77% of all cases.

In London, this was as high as 87%, while in Norfolk it was 57%.

Victim Support said theft can have serious and long-term impacts on victims – robbing them of both their possessions and their sense of safety.

Jeffrey DeMarco, assistant director at the independent charity, added: “The fact that a million cases went unsolved last year seriously undermines victims’ confidence in the criminal justice system.

"Theft is a crime that must always be taken seriously by the police, and work must be undertaken to improve these shockingly low success rates.”

More than three-quarters of car theft cases and nine in 10 bike thefts were closed without a suspect being identified in 2021.

In West Yorkshire, 72% of cases of stolen motor vehicles were closed with no suspects identified, but other types of cases identified even fewer criminals.

No suspect was found in 94% of cases of thefts from a vehicle, 90% in incidents of vehicle interference and 88% in bike theft.

The National Police Chiefs' Council said forces will prioritise cases where there is a realistic prospect of prosecution, and ensure vulnerable victims have the support they need.

For crimes such as theft, an NPCC spokesman said police focus on targeting prolific offenders, organised crime networks, and ensuring prevention measures are in place.

The Home Office said it is aware of the distress and disruption vehicle, bike and other thefts cause.

A spokeswoman said 20,000 extra police officers are being recruited to protect communities to help prevent these crimes.