Shropshire Star

North Shropshire by-election: Lib Dems highlight rural policing on campaign trail

Nearly three quarters of burglaries went unsolved by West Mercia Police last year, according to analysis of new Home Office figures.

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Alistair Carmichael is the Liberal Democrat's home affairs spokesman

West Mercia Police, the force that covers the Shropshire area along with Herefordshire, Worcestershire, and Telford & Wrekin, failed to solve 28 per cent of burglaries, according to the Liberal Democrat analysis.

And figures show only 217 burglaries resulted in a suspect being charged – less than one in 20 (4.7 per cent).

The force closed 4,571 burglary cases between July 2020 and June 2021, but in 3,297 of those cases no suspect was even identified, the party’s analysis reveals.

The party released the figures ahead of Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman Alistair Carmichael visiting North Shropshire on the by-election campaign trail.

Helen Morgan is again standing for the party in North Shropshire against Conservative candidate Neil Shastri-Hurst, Labour's Ben Wood, Duncan Kerr of the Green Party and other minor party candidates.

Commenting on the figures Mr Carmichael said: “Liberal Democrats are working hard to make our communities safe and help residents feel safe too. We need a return to proper community policing, where officers are visible, trusted and known personally to local people. This is especially true in our more rural towns and villages where our overstretched police officers can be a rare sight.

“Local people need an MP who understands what local communities need and will fight to get it for them. Helen is a far better choice than the Conservatives’ unknown Birmingham candidate when it comes to understanding issues around crime across the area. She’ll be a strong voice to press for more community policing.”

Ms Morgan added: “The real issue is that in North Shropshire we have far too few police officers, that makes it so difficult for the force to follow up crimes and get the justice residents deserve.

“The Conservative Government are taking local people for granted, failing our local community police service and letting criminals get away with it. We shouldn't let them anymore, we need to send a message.

“Everyone should be able to feel safe in their own homes, and know that if someone does break in they will be caught and punished. But with thousands of burglaries going unsolved across the area, that’s simply not the case for far too many people here in Shropshire.

"Having suffered the distress and trauma of being burgled, thousands of victims are left without the closure they need and the justice they deserve.”

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