Top ten worst police forces for solving muggings revealed

police on the streets
police on the streets

As few as one in 25 muggings are being solved by police with 80 cases a day closed without a suspect being identified, official figures show.

The data ranking all 43 forces in England and Wales shows that in some areas just four per cent of robberies are resulting in a charge.

Around 30,000 muggings a year are going unsolved without a suspect being identified, equivalent to 80 a day or just under four an hour.

The proportion resulting in a charge has fallen nationally from a high of 17.3 per cent in 2014, when the Home Office started compiling the data, to just 7.3 per cent in 2021, according to the analysis by the House of Commons Library for the Liberal Democrats.

The figures refer to offences of robbery of personal property which involve violence or threats to the victim, commonly known as muggings.

The West Midlands Police was the worst performing force, with just four per cent of robberies reported in 2022 leading to a suspect being charged. This was followed by Northamptonshire (five per cent), Avon and Somerset (six per cent) and Hampshire (six per cent).

Thames Valley Police was the top performing force with one in seven (14.7 per cent) of muggings resulting in a charge, followed by South Wales Police (14.5 per cent), Suffolk (13.4 per cent) and Cumbria (13.3 per cent).

west midlands police
west midlands police

Sarah Olney, the Liberal Democrat Treasury spokeswoman who commissioned the research, said: “These shocking figures show muggings are being effectively decriminalised, with far too many violent criminals let off the hook.

“People are being left feeling unsafe walking down their own local streets, because this Conservative government has slashed neighbourhood policing to the bone. Crime victims are being abandoned while Home Secretary Suella Braverman is embroiled in endless scandals.

“We need to see a return to proper community policing, making our streets safer and ending this free-for-all for criminals.”

Andy Cooke, chief inspector of police, has criticised forces for failing to do the basics of going to crime scenes, investigating links to other similar offences and giving the public prevention advice as soon as they report a theft.

He has identified a national shortage of detectives for hampering investigations with inexperienced officers failing to get the necessary supervision to ensure inquiries are adequately completed.

Harvey Redgrave, chief executive of Crest Advisory who has advised three prime ministers, said it was “increasingly impossible” to ignore the “declining effectiveness” of law enforcement witnessed by charging rates “dropping like a stone” since 2016.

“The Government has made much of tougher mandatory sentencing for violent offenders. However, when it comes to deterrence, all of the evidence suggests criminals respond more strongly to the likelihood of being caught than the severity of the sentence. With so few crimes being detected and sanctioned, offenders are emboldened,” he said.

There is evidence that the courts are failing to take a tougher approach despite being handed greater powers to impose longer sentences. A Freedom of Information request by The Telegraph found that muggers were being let off jail even though they had been convicted for up to 20 previous robberies.

The data showed that the highest number of previous convictions for robbery before an offender was jailed was 20 in 2019, 12 in 2020 and nine in 2021.

A Home Office spokesman said: “Robbery is an invasive and unsettling crime for victims and we expect the police to take all incidents seriously.

“We are providing police with the resources they need, having delivered on our commitment to recruit 20,000 additional police officers by March 2023, the highest it has ever been.

“We are also supporting police by providing funding for crime prevention measures, including better street lighting and CCTV, and equipping police with better technology to help their investigations and catch more criminals.”