More than 30,000 crimes went unsolved in Suffolk last year

Det Chief Supt Eamonn Bridger at Suffolk police Picture: ARCHANT

Det Chief Supt Eamonn Bridger at Suffolk police Picture: ARCHANT - Credit: Archant

Barely a quarter of crimes reported in Suffolk last year resulted in prosecution, police figures show.

Suffolk Constabulary has defended the latest figures, which show more than 30,000 crimes went unprosecuted in 2018.

Det Chief Supt Eamonn Bridger said the 27% overall prosecution rate was in line with national trends - and the force was among the best in prosecuting certain categories of crime,

"We can reflect on how well we move towards criminal justice outcomes," he said "But our main focus is on reducing the numbers of crimes that occur in the first place - these are our priorities."

Det Chief Supt Bridger said police worked with the public and other organisations to reduce crime by educating the public on prevention measure including new forms of technology such as doorbell cameras. "We've had some huge successes around that," he added, "Not only does it provide evidence but they are also genuine deterrents to thieves."

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The figures show major differences in prosecution rates for categories of crime.

For many acquisitive categories, such as burglary, theft and vehicle crime, the inability to identify a suspect is the biggest obstacle - affecting around three quarters of all cases. In the case of vehicle crime, a suspect is identified in just 14% of reports.

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Det Chief Supt Bridger said the nature of such crimes posed difficulties in identification, as offenders tended to target places where there are no witnesses or CCTV footage. "We're not huge outliers when compared nationally to other police forces," he said. "This is a common challenge and not a specific problem for Suffolk. And when it comes to house burglaries, which are one of the most impactive crimes, we are very good when compared nationally at identifying suspects and bring them to justice."

For victim based crime, such as robbery, violence and sexual assaults the challenges are reversed. While suspects are usually identified, the cases do not make it to court, often because the victim is not willing.

The best outcomes were recorded for drug-related crimes, which resulted in a prosecution in more than 93% of cases. Det Chief Supt Bridger said: "The more you are able to provide resources, the more we can find. There's very high conversion rate for criminal justice outcomes."

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