Case closed: Surrey Police write off 36,000 unsolved crimes

June 15, 2020 11:00 AM

An investigation by the Lib Dems has uncovered that 36,284 crimes were closed by Surrey Police last year without a suspect being identified.

Data from the Home Office reveals that Police in England and Wales abandoned 2.2 million crimes in 2019 including more than 300,000 burglaries in 2019 - with a third of forces closing more than 80% of cases before they were solved.

Surrey had one of the worst records on burglaries in the country. 5,395 cases were closed without a suspect being identified 85% of the total number recorded - only just behind the worst force, the West Midlands Police at 89%.

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.

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 2.2 million 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.

Paul Kennedy, Lib Dem candidate for Surrey's Police and Crime Commissioner, said:

"It is scandalous that we are seeing over two million crimes nationally and over 36,000 crimes locally closed without further investigation. It is imperative that the Police explore every avenue and act with compassion for the victims and their families when investigating these crimes."

"We are seeing crimes committed and reports filed yet nothing happens for months if at all and the reports just gather dust in a Police filing system. All the while victims are longing for justice."

"At the moment millions of people are left without justice and rightly angry that criminals are getting away scot-free."

Government Minister to look at Lib Dem proposal for train ticketing

The Lib Dems have succeeded in getting the Department for Transport to look into flexible rail tickets to help commuters getting back to work after the coronavirus pandemic.

With traditional season tickets unlikely to be attractive for many commuters in the future the Lib Dems have called on the Government and train companies to provide more flexible ticket options including 'carnet' ticketing. Carnet ticketing would provide for 10 or 20 single journeys at a discount on the individual ticket price and crucially would allow much more flexibility than traditional season tickets.

During the lockdown working from home has become a new routine for many people and now as the lockdown is gradually lifte it is clear that many of these workers are unlikely to revert to 5 day-a-week commuting. Moreover, with restrictions on capacity on the rail network likely for the near future, a new approach is needed to support commuters.

Lib Dem Borough and County Councillor, Will Forster, said:

"Despite all the challenges of social distancing it is vitally important that we have public transport systems which work for people. The alternative would be more cars on the road, more congestion and more air pollution. We cannot allow that to happen."

"Travelling by train must continue to be a cost effective and attractive option for people. Many Woking residents have no choice but to commute to work via train and that is why the Lib Dems and I are pushing both the Government and South Western Railway to introduce ticketing options which combine the convenience and better value of season tickets with greater flexibility."

In response to the Lib Dems' request the Rail Minister, Chris Heaton-Harris, confirmed that the Government has agreed to look at better value ticketing options for part-time and flexible rail commuters. The Minister recognises that this is increasingly important in the post-Covid world. He has undertaken to work with the rail operators to introduce options such as carnet ticketing as quickly as possible.