MPs ‘shocked’ that one in five reported crimes is never investigated

Red and white police lineOne in five crime reports made to the police end up in the bin and are never investigated, according to research by RTL news.

The broadcaster says tens of thousands of complaints are ignored, even if the impact on the victim has been serious or if a suspect has been identified.

RTL bases its claim on research carried out into 360,000 crime reports made over almost two years.

It found in 37% of cases the crime was solved, and this was particularly the case with serious crimes such murder and grievous bodily harm. In 42% of cases police start an inquiry but it remains unsolved. This is often the case with burglary and muggings.

However in 21% of cases, nothing is done. For example, only one in four reports of car theft are ever investigated. Some 35,000 burglaries were not looked into, even though justice ministry guidelines say this is a high impact crime and every case should be investigated.

Wrong conclusions

In a reaction, the police issued a statement saying that RTL had drawn the wrong conclusions from the data, which had been obtained using freedom of information legislation.

For example, the definition of burglary includes attempted break-ins as well as break-ins in sheds and outhouses and these make up the bulk of cases which are not followed up, the statement said.

Nevertheless, MPs have said they are shocked by the results and have called for a debate with ministers.

Gerrit van de Kamp of the police union ACP told RTL the police have no choice but to leave some crimes uninvestigated. ‘Politicians have wrongly stoked expectations that all crimes are investigated,’ he said.