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Burglary is a devastating crime which can cause significant distress to victims. In the past, officers have physically been deployed when a crime was in progress and all reports underwent a rigorous assessment of threat, harm and risk. Following an ongoing review of burglary deployment across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, and recognising the Police and Crime Commissioner’s commitment in the Police and Crime Plan to challenge the force to ensure community crimes that really matter are given the priority they need, officers will now attend every report of a residential burglary that the force receives.
Acting Chief Constable Ben Snuggs said: “We know that residential burglary has a huge impact on those affected. That is why we are making a commitment to our communities that we will attend every report of a residential dwelling burglary that we receive. Over the past few years we have seen a significant decrease in the number of residential burglary offences being committed across Hampshire and Isle of Wight. That means far fewer victims having to pick up the pieces after their home has been broken into.
“At the same time however, we have also seen a reduction in the number of offences which have resulted in charges being brought. This is a priority area for the force to address. Over the course of this year we have delivered a range of initiatives across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight to increase the number of offenders who are identified and brought to justice. This is being coordinated by a central burglary improvement group – ensuring all the right specialists are involved to turn things around. We are determined that every residential burglary should be responded to effectively and every opportunity used to identify who is responsible.
“We clearly use our resources based on the demand we experience day by day, which is why previously we may not have always deployed one of our team where, for example, a victim did not identify any forensic or evidential opportunities during their initial contact. Regardless of whether we attended, the Neighbourhood Policing Team would still review all reports to ensure that patterns could be identified and relevant crime prevention advice could be given.
“However, we know that our initial attendance to burglary victims will improve our outcome rates through identifying early forensic and investigative lines of enquiry which members of the public may not have previously noticed. Our attendance will also help to improve public confidence and help victims to feel safer in their homes, which is a cornerstone of victim-focused policing. Our commitment to attend every residential burglary report will ensure that we take full advantage of the increased use of technology, both within policing and in our communities, such as good quality video doorbell footage, to identify and prosecute those responsible.
“It’s important to remember that Hampshire and the Isle of Wight are safe places to live and work in, with an average of only eight burglaries reported to us a day. We recognise that while the number of these offences may be small, they can in some cases be linked to other forms of criminality, such as drug supply or organised crime. By attending all residential dwelling burglary reports, I want to send a very clear message that we will not tolerate these crimes. We want to give ourselves the very best opportunity to disrupt and deter crime, and catch those criminals who are responsible.
“We will continue to work closely with our communities to identify opportunities to prevent burglary and further reduce the number of victims being affected.”
Donna Jones, Police and Crime Commissioner for Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, said: “I’m pleased that the Chief agrees with me that every domestic burglary must be responded to and investigated, this is what the public rightly expect and deserve.
“Domestic burglaries are an abhorrent crime and victims deserve an initial response and thorough follow up.
“The latest HMICFRS report on Finding Time for Crime gave recommendations to forces to improve their burglary investigations and ensure they are supporting and updating victims – firstly, this is key to building trust with the public. Secondly, my Police and Crime Plan, ‘More Police, Safer Streets’ outlines my expectations from the force in terms of tackling crimes like domestic burglary, specifically targeting repeat offenders and reducing burglary with better intelligence sources.
“So often we hear about crimes that have been reported but haven’t received the police response we expect, but I know police officers want to investigate these crimes, and I know they want to get justice for victims.
“Every deployment is an opportunity to identify offenders and increase charge rates.
“Delivering straightforward policing and visibility in response to crimes that matter the most to people is right and proper and I expect this re-focus on deployment and investigation to have a positive effect on communities in both counties.”