Police Burglary Attendance to be Phased Out
Feeling safe and secure in our own homes is a priority for us all, and many of us would assume that it’s a priority that’s shared by the authorities. In the unfortunate event of a break-in occurring, the natural first step is to contact the police, who would usually attend the scene to assess the crime and gather evidence.
However, recent developments might mean that this procedure is about to change. According to the new head of the National Police Chiefs’ Council, Sara Thornton, officers may no longer attend burglaries if there is no current threat to public safety at the time that the crime is reported.
While this may seem like a slackening of crime prevention measures, the council feels its hands are somewhat tied when it comes to cutting services. Thornton claims that drastic reforms are required to reassign ever-dwindling funds to more severe crime prevention, although not all are happy with the changes.
The new scheme will see police no longer responding in person to investigate burglaries where the perpetrator is no longer present. The authorities claim that priorities have had to shift to tackle those crimes deemed more serious, and that it could be that an officer would no longer attend a property if an iPad or a few valuables had been taken.
That’s not to say that all investigations into home break-ins will cease; but that the approach taken by local police forces will be one that is considered more hands-off, and that response times will be slower if no threat to safety is present.
Thornton indicated a tightening of budgets as a knock-on of government austerity measures as the cause of the reform, pointing out that there has been a 25% reduction in funding for police forces in the last four years, and that further cuts were likely. This has meant tens-of-thousands of jobs lost over the previous decade, and Thornton is keen to prevent more staff cuts, which would lead to a stretched force that could not supply a sufficient defence against crime.
The council points to the decrease in burglary and vehicle crime in recent years as justification for the move, emphasising its change of focus towards terrorism, cyber crime and more violent acts.
“We need to move from reacting to some of those traditional crimes to think about focusing on threat and harm and risk and protecting the public”, Thornton explains, underlining the changing nature of criminal activity in the 21st Century.
Regardless of the theory behind the move, there will be many that will be concerned about their options when suffering a break-in, increasing the need for a prevention-over-cure approach.
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