Vast majority of burglaries in MPs’ constituencies go unsolved, say Lib Dems

Liberal Democrat leader Ed Davey
Sir Ed Davey wants to see a burglary response guarantee for victims - Jack Taylor/Getty

More than nine in 10 burglaries go unsolved in some MPs’ constituency areas, the Liberal Democrats have revealed, as the party called for a response guarantee for victims.

The police area covering former justice secretary Dominic Raab’s Elmbridge constituency in Surrey – a Lib Dem target seat – had the biggest proportion of unsolved burglaries last year at 92 per cent.

By contrast, the new constituency of Killingworth in Northumberland had the least worst performance with police failing to solve 56 per cent of the burglaries in the area last year.

The data, obtained under freedom of information laws, provide the first local police area success rates for solving burglaries, enabling a constituency by constituency breakdown.

It showed that despite all 43 police chiefs in England and Wales pledging in 2022 that officers would attend every domestic burglary, the overall proportion of burglaries that were unsolved had risen in the past three years from 75 per cent to 79 per cent.

All the top 10 areas with the highest unsolved burglary rates covered Tory-held constituencies including South Cambridgeshire (91 per cent) held by Anthony Browne, Runnymede (90 per cent) held by Kwasi Kwarteng, the former chancellor, and Harborough and Wigston (89 per cent) held by Neil O’Brien, a former health minister.

Others in the top 10 were Waverley, held by Jeremy Hunt, the Chancellor, (88 per cent), former minister Sir Paul Beresford’s Mole Valley (86 per cent) and Surrey Heath, the constituency of Michael Gove, the outgoing Housing Secretary (85 per cent).

The data come ahead of the announcement by Sir Ed Davey, the Lib Dem leader, of the party’s plans to tackle burglaries and other high-volume crimes.

It would include a new statutory guarantee that all domestic burglaries must be attended by the police and properly investigated.

‘Victims denied justice’

“Too many families now feel unsafe in their own homes because this Conservative government has decimated front-line policing for too long,” said Sir Ed.

“Victims are being denied justice because Conservative ministers can’t even get the basics right on solving crime.

“That is why the Liberal Democrats would deliver a burglary response guarantee, to ensure all home burglaries are attended by the police and properly investigated.

“People are sick of seeing their local communities plagued by crime and just want this appalling Conservative government to be kicked out of office.

“In so many parts of the country, we have shown that it is the Liberal Democrats who can beat the Conservatives and deliver the change that the country is crying out for.”

To implement this guarantee, he said the next government should reinvigorate community policing to ensure officers had the time and resources they needed to focus on preventing and solving crime.

It would be allied to a new strategy to tackle the shortage of detectives and set up a new national Online Crime Agency, to better protect people from online crime while freeing up local forces’ time to tackle burglars.

The proposals follow an investigation by The Telegraph that found that police had failed to solve a single burglary in nearly half of all neighbourhoods in England and Wales in the past three years despite pledging to attend the scene of every domestic break-in to boost detection rates.

Chris Philp, the policing minister, said: “This is another cynical statement from the Liberal Democrats who cannot say what they would do to tackle crime because they do not have a plan.

“A vote for the Liberal Democrats is a vote for Sir Keir Starmer and the Labour Party.

“The reality is that the Conservatives are taking tough action on crime, driving down burglaries by 55 per cent since 2010.

“The choice in this election is clear, stick to the clear plan with Rishi Sunak and the Conservatives, who have taken bold action to drive down crime by 54 per cent since 2010 and bring criminals to justice, or go back to square one with Sir Keir Starmer’s Labour Party who have no plan to crack down on crime.”

The analysis of police data showed that no burglaries were solved in 48 per cent of neighbourhoods – areas covering between 1,000 and 3,000 people – in the past three years.

In October 2022, all 43 police chiefs in England and Wales made the landmark promise to attend every break-in.

But the Home Office figures showed that the proportion of burglaries resulting in a charge fell in the following year to 3.9 per cent (fewer than one in 25 reported burglaries) from 4.6 per cent in 2022.