Police response to burglary, robbery and theft must improve

11 Aug 2022 01:08 PM

The police response to burglary, robbery and theft is not consistently good enough – and victims face a postcode lottery when it comes to how thoroughly officers might investigate crimes, the police inspectorate has warned.

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The police response to burglary, robbery and other acquisitive crime – Finding time for crime

Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) has called for forces to go back to basics to ensure they are conducting investigations effectively.

Inspectors found that:

HMICFRS has recommended that by March 2023, all police forces should ensure that:

Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Constabulary Andy Cooke yesterday said:

“Burglary, robbery and theft are not minor crimes. They are crimes that strike at the heart of how safe people feel in their own homes or communities. The current low charge rates for these crimes are unacceptable and unsustainable – there needs to be a concerted drive to address this issue because it directly affects the public’s confidence in the police’s ability to keep them safe.

“At the moment, depending on where in England and Wales they live, some victims are more likely than others to get a thorough investigation from their force. This postcode lottery can’t be justified. We found that from the moment a victim reports a crime until that case is finalised, forces are missing opportunities to gather vital evidence and bring offenders to justice.

“A lack of experienced officers means that too often, these crimes are being investigated poorly and are not adequately supervised – often because supervisors themselves are inexperienced and overstretched.

“We found that some police forces are working hard to tackle these crimes and uncovered some excellent examples of innovative and effective practice. We hope that other forces will follow these examples.

“We’ve made two recommendations for police forces to go back to basics by improving crime scene management and ensuring proper supervision so that investigations are conducted effectively.”

Get the report

The police response to burglary, robbery and other acquisitive crime – Finding time for crime


  1. For further information, the HMICFRS Press Office can be contacted at 07836 217 729 or HMICPressOffice@hmicfrs.gov.uk (e-mail address).
  2. This report is based on findings from HMICFRS’s PEEL inspections from 2021/2022 and its thematic reports.
  3. The inspectorate’s two recommendations in full are as follows:
  1. By March 2023, forces should make sure their crime-scene management practices adhere to the authorised professional practice on managing investigations for serious acquisitive crime. They should also include:
  1. By March 2023, all forces should ensure serious acquisitive crime investigations are subject to effective supervision and direction. This should focus on: