Police chiefs across England and Wales have committed forces to attending all home burglaries in a new set of standards they hope will result in more of the crimes being solved and more offenders prosecuted.
The National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) said chief constables will work to ensure the approach is implemented “as soon as practically possible”.
While some forces already have a policy in place to go to all home burglaries, others attend only where victims are vulnerable or elderly, or there are evidential lines of inquiry to be followed up.
West Mercia Chief Constable Pippa Mills said today: "You may have seen news coverage this week around the police service and the response to home burglaries. We’re eager to make sure you know what we do as your local force respond to and tackle these crimes.
"Whilst the number of burglaries locally is low, the impact of being a victim can be devastating. That’s why it is our policy to attend all burglaries. We see the importance of this, both in terms of evidence gathering and in ensuring the right support is in place for victims and that we can help them feel safe in their homes.
"We are determined to provide a quality policing service for the people of Herefordshire, Worcestershire, Shropshire and Telford and a recent survey has shown that our communities are increasingly satisfied with the response we give to burglary."
She went on to list comments from victims in the force area:
“You hear that the service is no good and that the police won't do anything, but the service was all marvellous. Everything was fully explained to me. I saw a uniformed officer the forensic team, CID and the community support.”
“Everybody was so helpful (forensics and officers) I received phone calls, letters, and face to face visits from the police and feel my experience with the Police has been more positive now than ever.”
“The officers were open and transparent with us. There was good follow up from the community support officers who went door to door with Smartwater which made the neighbourhood more aware. The service we received exceeded our expectations.”
“I was updated by the Police more than I would have expected. I had a follow up visit to discuss the case, and an officer hand delivered a letter explaining how the case was going to be treated going forwards.”
Chief Constable Mills added: "Should you become a victim of a burglary in our force area, we have made a clear commitment of the service you’ll receive from us."
She said people can find full details of West Mercia's Local Policing Charter at westmercia.police.uk/police-forces/west-mercia-police/areas/west-mercia/campaigns/campaigns/2019/local-policing-charter - including the initial response and follow-up contact from local safer neighbourhood team.
"Through investment from the West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner, John Campion, our officer numbers are currently the highest they have been in over a decade, and we are currently recruiting more," she added.
"This means we can be more visible in our communities, which we know acts as a deterrent. We also have a community messaging service, Neighbourhood Matters, which you can sign up to and receive news from your local policing team straight into your inbox. We also use this to warn you if we know there has been an offence in your area, offer crime prevention advice and update you when we bring offenders to justice.
"SmartWater, forensic property marking technology, continues to be distributed throughout our communities which, together with supplied signage, warns criminals that there are crime prevention tactics in place – another deterrent.
"There are still areas for improvement, and we want to be open, honest and transparent about this – the number of investigations that result in a charge is not where we want it to be. This is something we are working to improve in conjunction with the Crown Prosecution Service. We will do better.
"We are proud of the service that we give to victims of burglary, but we will never stop learning and evolving to ensure that we are doing all we can to protect people from harm and to bring offenders to justice. "