No suspect identified in three-quarters of thefts in Nottinghamshire

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

By Patrick Jack
Thursday, 5th May 2022, 4:57 pm

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

Home Office figures show Nottinghamshire Police closed 28,911 theft probes in 2021, 77 per cent of which had the outcome ‘investigation complete – no suspect identified’.

This was up from 74 per cent in 2020.

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

A further 5 per cent of all theft cases in Nottinghamshire closed with a suspect identified and the victim supporting an investigation, but ‘evidential difficulties prevented further action’, while 8 per cent were closed because the victim dropped the case.

Just 7 per cent resulted in a charge or summons, down from 9 per cent the year before.

A Nottinghamshire Police spokesman said: “Theft offences can have a very significant impact on victims and should always be reported to the police.

“The inherent challenges in solving these offences are known to police forces across the country, but we still want people to tell us about them.

“Even in cases where there is little of no evidence, we want to know when and where offences are happening, so we can build up a local intelligence picture and target our resources effectively.

“Once we are made aware of a theft offences we will work hard not only to identify suspects, and also work to put in place measures that will prevent offences from happening in future.

“This include working with local retailers to help reduce the number of shoplifting offences that are reported. For example, relatively simple changes to display locations or security patterns can have a very significant impact on store security.”

The force said that in the year to December 2021, theft offences fell in Nottinghamshire by 3 per cent, while burglaries fell 21 per cent.

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

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, said: “The fact 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 police and work must be undertaken to improve these shockingly low success rates.”

In Nottinghamshire, 76 per cent 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 95 per cent of cases of thefts from a vehicle, 93 per cent of incidents of vehicle interference and 89 per cent of bike thefts.

The Home Office said it is aware of the distress and disruption vehicle, bike and other thefts cause and 20,000 extra police officers are being recruited to protect communities to help prevent these crimes.