A woman fed up with police inaction was forced to trace her own stolen car, it emerged today – as an investigation revealed forces are taking three minutes longer on average to attend a serious crime than six years ago.
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Officers are now 28 per cent slower to attend a ‘Grade 1 Emergency Response’ after receiving a 999 call, according to data released by 22 of the 43 forces.
Meanwhile, detectives are 44 per cent slower to arrive at such incidents than nine years ago, responses from 19 forces to freedom of information requests by the BBC found.
Michelle Almond, from Greater Manchester, phoned the police three or four times a day after thieves stole her car, but did not receive a return phone call.
On Facebook, someone responded to her post about the incident but saying they had seen the being joyridden around their estate and they had CCTV.
Deciding to solve the crime for herself, she drove to the spot were the car was last seen and found it parked there. Despite telling police where it was, no officers were sent out.
On the fourth night she saw the car being driven around and decided to follow it in her daughter’s vehicle. After tracking it down a dead end a man with a crowbar came out and confronted Ms Almond, forcing her to escape. A day later it was found crashed into a bush with the windows smashed in.
Greater Manchester Police declined to comment.
The charity Victim Support described news about delays to emergency response times as ‘seriously alarming’ amid concerns that slower response times could mean that key evidence is being missed.
Research by BBC News also found at least five cases of forces not visiting victims of crime scenes for more than two days after a serious emergency was reported.
Police are taking three minutes longer on average to attend a serious crime than six years ago
Other victims claimed they found the police were not doing enough to help them and therefore felt compelled to begin investigating crimes they had suffered.
Woman was raped by vile attacker who stalked her for nearly two hours after police failed to respond to her 999 call
A police force failed to attend a 999 call as a man stalked a woman for two hours before raping her in the street.
Hasan Kyoybasha, 30, (below) approached a woman who spurned his advances before he moved on to the victim.
The witness then called the police to report his predatory behaviour towards the second woman, aged in her 30s.
But they failed to attend as Kyoybasha ‘pestered, badgered and followed’ the lone woman for an hour and 45 minutes. The man eventually pounced on the lady, savagely raping her in broad daylight on Ashley Road, a main road in Poole, Dorset.
Dorset Police said they were experiencing ‘higher than average calls’ so their officers were unable to attend. In April, Kyoybasha was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment after he was found guilty of rape and sexual assault.
And the number of recorded crimes leading to a charge or court summons has dropped for seven years in a row up to 2021, a fall of 40 per cent over six years.
But data also reveals a fall in many types of crimes since the late 1990s, which may mean the trend is mostly down to better reporting and recording of offences.
Policing Minister Kit Malthouse told the BBC: ‘The public should have confidence in the police and that their force will do everything in their power to solve and prevent crime.
‘We know that responding quickly to 101 and 999 calls is vital when tackling crime, which is why we have committed to improving the responsiveness of local police by publishing league tables to hold local forces to account.’
Earlier this month, the Daily Telegraph reported that police officers are investigating serious crimes including murders and rapes from home.
New hybrid working policies brought in by the pandemic are being used across the country, including in areas with some of the nation’s highest crime rates.
Hampshire Constabulary, which has the seventh-highest number of crimes out of the 43 forces in England and Wales allows officers to work from home.
Zoe Wakefield, the chairman of the Hampshire Police Federation, said hybrid working is likely to continue as an option for officers having been a success in the force.
Norfolk and Suffolk constabularies have a ‘modern workplace’ policy in which supervisors must ‘treat individuals fairly regardless of the individual’s location’.
And Durham Constabulary has praised its working from home policy, saying it has improved ‘work-life balance and overall wellbeing’ for staff and will therefore remain.
Diana Fawcett, Chief Executive at the charity Victim Support said: ‘These figures are seriously alarming. When it comes to emergency calls, the minutes and seconds matter.’
Particularly for vulnerable victims – such as in domestic abuse cases – a slower response could mean that the chance to prevent serious harm is missed or crucial evidence cannot be not collected.
‘The combined effect of slow response times and the failure to charge suspects threatens to seriously undermine victims’ trust and confidence in the police and the justice system altogether.’
Policing Minister Kit Malthouse (pictured last week) said the public ‘should have confidence in the police and that their force will do everything in their power to solve and prevent crime’
National Detectives’ Forum Chair Glyn Pattinson: ‘The Home Office’s report reveals two crucial challenges added to policing duties during the period.
‘First, are the changes brought by Crown Prosecution Service requiring police to submit a full case file, with any necessary redactions, before they decide if there is sufficient evidence to charge and take the case forward.
‘This has drastically reduced the overall time detectives have available to actively investigate new cases. In some instances, it has also resulted in victims withdrawing from investigations because of delays caused by the new guidance.
Police are failing to send officers to over HALF of anti-social behaviour cases
Police officers are not being sent out to over half of anti-social behaviour incidents that are being reported, official figures have shown.
FOI data reveals there were 3.6million reports of anti-social behaviour to police forces from 2019 to 2021. Two million, or 55.2 percent, were not attended to by officers. Only covering 34 forces, the FOI request underestimates the real scale of the problem across the UK – and it also only covers reported incidents.
Victims’ groups have warned that persistent anti-social behaviour can escalate into making people’s lives ‘living nightmares’, and Liberal Democrats have accused the government of being ‘soft on crime’.
Anti-social behaviour can include threats of violence, abusive or insulting behaviour, noise, graffiti, vandalism or drunkenness – and Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey said the Tory government has het this behaviour ‘run rampant’ after years of failing to ‘give police forces the officers or resources to tackle this scourge properly’.
‘Second, is the unprecedented demand on the police during the Covid pandemic in respect of enforcing lockdown and other measures to ensure communities remained safe. Both these challenges have not only affected the outcome of reported cases but also increased the workloads of all rank and file police officers.’
Earlier this year figures revealed a 50 per cent rise in the time it was taking to charge a suspect, with victims left an average of 419 days after reporting the crime.
Detectives said getting cases ‘trial ready’ is wasting days and weeks before they are referred to the Crown Prosecution Service to make a decision on whether to charge a suspect.
They said hundreds of pages of third party evidence, including contact with health services, and thousands of data files are required to be prepared by officers even if the suspect pleads guilty or in cases with no prospect of a conviction due to a lack of evidence.
This data then has to be reviewed and redacted to remove people who are not involved in the case, detectives said, which includes pixelating faces in police bodycam footage.
The change in CPS rules came in 2020 after a series of cases collapsed when new evidence which should have been investigated earlier emerged at trial.
Delays to police response times and charging decisions come amid a major backlog to crown court trials caused by Covid.
Cases waiting to be heard in the Crown courts have doubled since the start of the pandemic to just under 60,000 in England and Wales, according to data from March.
Ministers aim to cut the figure by less than 8,000 over the next three years.
The Commons public accounts committee said the target was a ‘meagre ambition’, and highlighted ‘unacceptable delays’ for victims and witnesses.
MailOnline has contacted the Home Office for comment today.
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