Freedom of information requests revealed more than half of police forces that responded to use a ‘screening out’ process, in which crimes are not investigated because police feel they are unlikely to be solved.
The Metropolitan Police alone abandoned more than 350,000 inquiries in 2011-12.
Among the victims affected was Marc Cutler, a public relations executive from north London, who had his Charge Plug bike stolen from railings near a flower market last year.
He said: “I spoke to the police, but they said there was not a lot they could do. They’d give me a crime report number, but they were not hopeful I’d get it back.
Cutler tracked down the stolen bike himself by scanning for advertisements on websites. He contacted the seller, a Russian man, and took two friends for the rendezovous.
At the meeting, Cutler clutched his stolen bike as his friends phone the police. Cutler said: “When the police got there, they checked the serial number and told the man he could leave the bike with me, or be arrested – he finally left. It’s a shame that they don’t take crimes like this seriously.”
Philippa Brady, an events manager who lives in London, had her bank card, camera and cash stolen during a night out at a cinema. There was CCTV footage that could have been examined, but police said a detailed investigation was not appropriate. She says she was told by an officer “There wasn’t a thing they could do.”
Full text is available on the Sunday Times website here, or after the fold.