A THIRD of crimes reported in Warwickshire are not investigated by police.
Channel 4 investigative current affairs programme Dispatches revealed under-resourced Warwickshire Police has to choose which offences to investigate.
Just under 33 per cent of crimes in Warwickshire are never passed to an officer for investigation – higher than the national average of 27 per cent.
The programme also revealed one in four of all ‘violence with injury’ cases in the county are ‘screened out’ – well above the national figure of one in ten.
Dispatches reported commonplace offences like theft, criminal damage and vandalism were the most likely crimes to be screened out across the UK.
Ch Supt David Gardner from Warwickshire Police said all reported offences were assessed for the potential threat, harm and risk to the public and property, with resources then allocated ‘based on demand’.
He said: “While we strive to provide the best possible level of service to our communities, there are instances where police may choose not to investigate lower level cases where there isn’t a prospect of a criminal justice outcome and the time spent on the investigation would not be proportionate.
“However if further evidence later becomes available in relation to an offence, the investigation can be rescreened and may be reopened.”
Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Seccombe said all offences were considered ‘so that the appropriate response can be put in place’.
He told The Observer: “I understand people may be concerned if there is a perception that crimes are not being investigated and I can assure them that part of my role in holding the force to account involves ensuring resources are being used effectively to tackle the issues and crimes that mean most to our communities.
“I know the force does have to prioritise its resources and sometimes has to take decisions on what action to take based on available evidence and likely outcomes.
“However, I will be seeking further assurances about how these decisions are made to ensure that no matters are dismissed when there are opportunities to progress and resolve them to protect our communities.”
Official figures released last year showed crime had gone up by nearly a fifth in the county – nearly double the average rise across England and Wales.
Since 2010, Warwickshire Police has lost around 150 officers to budget cuts.
In March this year, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) found the force ‘requires improvement’ – a step backwards from the previous year’s verdict of ‘good’.