Stoke-on-Trent burglary victims face 17 hour wait for police

Burglary victims in Staffordshire have been left waiting an average of 17 hours for police to turn up at their home. The wait represents a huge year-on-year rise across the county.

Figures have revealed how the average time it took for Staffordshire Police to arrive at the scene of a domestic burglary between 2022 and 2023 was just over 17 hours. This represented a rise on the previous year's nine hours and 53 minutes and a huge jump from the four hours and 52 minutes in 2020 to 2021. That equates to a 250 per cent shift.

The figures come after the Liberal Democrats issued Freedom of Information requests to all 39 forces. However a number - including Cheshire - refused to provide the information.

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Staffordshire Police were among 26 forces to reply- with the longest wait in 2022/2023 being Northamptonshire with 28 hours, followed by Durham on 25, Devon and Cornwall on 22 and Staffordshire in fourth.

But the force has responded to the figures and says the constabulary is seeing 'significant improvements in justice outcomes for victims'. It concedes 'there is a lot more work to be done'.

The Lib Dems say victims 'deserve a swift response'.

Alistair Carmichael -Credit:Getty Images
Alistair Carmichael -Credit:Getty Images

Alistair Carmichael, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesman, said: "When someone has been the victim of a burglary, they deserve a swift response from the police. Yet thanks to the Conservatives, this is increasingly out of reach. Years of ineffective resourcing of local police forces by Conservative ministers mean that all too often, the basics of stopping and solving crime are missed. The fact that traumatised burglary victims are being left waiting for hours, wondering if the police will even arrive, is unacceptable. To think that crucial evidence may be lost in the process too is unforgivable. The British public deserves so much better than this. It’s time to finally restore proper community policing, so people can be confident that if they do fall victim to crime, the police will turn up and investigate properly.”

The Government has defended its battle with crime.

A Home Office spokesperson said: “Since 2010, our communities are safer, with neighbourhood crimes such as burglary and robbery down 48 per cent. We also have more police officers protecting the public, having delivered on our promise to recruit 20,000 additional officers.”

StokeonTrentLive has reported how the force has stepped up patrols across various parts of North Staffordshire following fears burglars have been eyeing up properties - and vehicles. The latest Home Office crime figures - for the year to the end of September - show out of the 91,057 recorded crimes in Staffordshire, 4,293 related to burglaries - with 2,896 residential and 1,397 non-residential which mainly includes businesses.

Last year and it was confirmed that all forces in the country would attend every home burglary. Staffordshire Police had made that pledge in 2020 when subsequently their response times were at the latest with four hours and 52 minutes - before it then went up in the following years.

A burglar trying to force his way into a home -Credit:Getty Images
A burglar trying to force his way into a home -Credit:Getty Images

Responding to the FOI figures, a spokeswoman for the force told StokeonTrentLive: "We have attended and investigated all reported residential burglaries since we pledged to do so in 2020, unless there is an exceptional reason for not doing so. Burglary has a significant and long-lasting effect on victims and we are committed to bringing more offenders to justice in Staffordshire. Response times will vary depending on the threat, harm and risk of the situation, which will be assessed by our Control Room at the point of call. Though we recognise there is a lot more work to be done, we are seeing significant improvements in justice outcomes for victims.”

Echoing the response from the force, Deputy Chief Constable Alex Franklin-Smith, the NPCC’s lead for burglary, says the nature of the report is assessed. He said: "Not every burglary report is the same and police ­control rooms across England must assess the threat, harm and risk associated with every call to ensure attendance is effectively prioritised."

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