Police are increasingly asking victims to investigate crime, as forces struggle to keep up, according to a report.
Cutbacks have meant particular crimes, such as car crime and criminal damage, were “on the verge of being decriminalised” as police had “almost given up” investigating them.
According to the report by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary, victims are being asked to look for fingerprints or check CCTV.
The report also found call-handlers were asking victims questions to assess how likely it was the crime would be investigated. When victims didn’t know the answers to those questions they were “asked to speak to neighbours, check for CCTV or view second-hand sales websites to see if their stolen property is being advertised for sale”.
The inspector who led the review, Roger Baker, told the BBC: “It’s more a mindset, that we no longer deal with these things. And effectively what’s happened is a number of crimes are on the verge of being decriminalised.”
He added: “So it’s not the fault of the individual staff; it’s a mindset thing that’s crept in to policing to say ‘we’ve almost given up’.”
The report found that the service received by victims varied depending on where in the country they lived and some repeat victims and suspects weren’t properly kept track of.
HMIC added: “HMIC finds this expectation by these forces that the victim should investigate his own crime both surprising and a matter of material concern.
“The police have been given powers and resources to investigate crime by the public, and there should be no expectation on the part of the police that an inversion of that responsibility is acceptable.”
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