Just 2% of car thefts end in a suspect being charged, shock figures reveal, while more than 70% go unsolved across England and Wales
- MPs said last night it left them wondering if car theft had been ‘decriminalised’
- Sparked fresh accusations police spend too much time promoting ‘woke’ causes
Just 2 per cent of car thefts result in a suspect being charged, according to shocking figures.
The analysis reveals that more than 70 per cent of thefts are also going unsolved in communities across England and Wales.
MPs last night said the data from the House of Commons library left them wondering if car theft had been ‘decriminalised’. It sparked accusations that police are spending too much time on promoting ‘woke’ causes and policing comments on the internet rather than fighting street-level crime.
The analysis shows that, of more than 97,000 car thefts in the first nine months of last year – the latest data available – just over 2 per cent (2,220) resulted in thugs being charged.
Up to a further 27 per cent faced sanctions such as cautions, which are seen as softer punishments as they don’t involve attending court or jail sentences.
Just 2 per cent of car thefts result in a suspect being charged, according to shocking figures (pictured)
Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey (pictured) said: ‘These shocking figures will leave people wondering if car theft has been decriminalised.’
But no suspects were identified in 68,800 cases, meaning 71 per cent of car thefts went unsolved across England and Wales between January 1 and September 30 last year.
The research, commissioned by the Liberal Democrats, gives one of the most detailed pictures to date of how police are dealing with the scourge of car theft, as the figures include all 43 forces in England and Wales as well as British Transport Police.
Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey said: ‘These shocking figures will leave people wondering if car theft has been decriminalised. This is an outrageous failure. Home Secretary Suella Braverman is asleep at the wheel. People are waking up to find their car gone and the police too overstretched to actually catch the criminal.
‘These thieves, who have brought misery to communities across the country, need to be caught and punished. We need more coppers on the beat to clamp down on these crimes going unsolved. Instead, the Government has slashed community officer numbers, which only benefits the criminals.’
Tory MP Peter Bone said: ‘What people want to see is the police investigating crimes such as burglary, car theft and vandalism. They’re not interested in the so-called woke concerns and investigations that some forces seem to be carrying out.’
The worst-performing police forces for the first three-quarters of last year were Essex, South Yorkshire and West Midlands.
In the West Midlands, 10,784 car thefts were recorded but a suspect was not identified for 8,787 of these, with 81 per cent going unsolved. Just 1 per cent resulted in a suspect being charged.
In South Yorkshire, 3,858 were recorded but no suspect was identified for 3,138, with 81 per cent going unsolved.
Mr Davey accused Home Secretary Suella Braverman (pictured) of being ‘asleep at the wheel’
In Essex, 3,746 car thefts were recorded but a suspect was not identified for 3,025, meaning 81 per cent went unsolved. Just 2 per cent resulted in a suspect being charged. The best-performing force was Devon and Cornwall Police, where only 13 per cent of car thefts were unsolved. But only 5 per cent of suspects were charged.
A rise in car theft, particularly in suburban communities, has also been fuelled by the switch to keyless vehicles. Gangs use relatively inexpensive equipment to re-direct signals from key fobs inside motorists’ homes into cars, unlocking the doors.
Separate figures show police forces failed to solve a single burglary in nearly half of the country’s neighbourhoods over a three-year period. It comes following a string of incidents which have seen police criticised for taking up ‘woke’ causes.
The Home Office was contacted for comment.
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