- A pilot scheme saw robberies, break-ins and vandalism without evidence being removed
- Police Scotland says it will ‘better manage public and victim expectations’
- The size of the force is currently the smallest since 2008 at 16,363 officers.
Police Scotland could stop investigating minor crimes such as theft when there is no evidence to save time, in a move that could give criminals a free pass if they do not leave evidence behind them.
The shocking move by Police Scotland, which flies in the face of the UK Government’s ideals that all theft should be investigated, will see low-level cases with no leads immediately dismissed.
The idea is to free up police resources to focus on solving more serious cases, but critics say the measure will only benefit criminals, Telegraph reported.
A pilot scheme which ended in November saw reports of some thefts, break-ins and vandalism being closed if there were no leads or CCTV evidence.
This comes as Police Scotland is experiencing its smallest force since 2008, having been reduced to 16,363 officers from 16,645 the previous year.
If the plan comes into force, it will mean that minor crimes without evidence will be abandoned.
Police Chief Jo Farrell, who is defending the plan, said it is “not a no-investigation policy.”
Police Chief Jo Farrell, in an attempt to calm public nerves, has said it is “not a no investigation policy” even though it literally is specifically that: if the plan goes ahead, minor cases with no clues will be will be discarded immediately after the initial evaluation. .
Police Scotland also believe the idea, which they say will only affect five per cent of cases, is a good one because, according to the Telegraph, it will mean victims will not get their hopes up.
Deputy Chief Constable Malcolm Graham told the newspaper: “We have been able to manage public and victim expectations better at the point of first contact than perhaps we would at the moment.”
“Work is underway to quantify the benefits in terms of the ability to release frontline officers, where in the past they might have been assigned a series of crime reports without there being a proportionate or reasonable line of inquiry that could be followed.” . .’
Not everyone thinks the plan is good. Russel Findlay MSP, shadow justice secretary for the Scottish Parliament, is one of them, but he blames the ruling party: ‘The SNP’s savage and sustained cuts and its weak justice agenda have left police numbers at their lowest level since 2008, with officers now unable to investigate certain crimes.
“It should be a source of shame to ministers that this dangerous pilot scheme is about to be rolled out across Scotland.
‘The public is not even told which crimes will not be investigated or how these decisions will be made.
Scottish Parliament shadow justice secretary Russel Findlay MSP blames lack of funding
Tulliallan Castle – Home of Police Scotland – the force is the smallest it has been in 16 years
‘Our hardworking police officers did not sign up for this. The communities don’t deserve it. The only winners are the criminals.’
If Police Scotland decides to go ahead with the plan, it will be extended to the entire county.
In 2021/2022, there were an estimated 494,000 crimes in 2021/22, of which almost three quarters were property crimes and a quarter were violent crimes.
The same year, one in ten adults experienced a crime, but this is half as many as ten years earlier.
Less than half of adults living in Scotland said in a 2021/2022 survey that the police in their local area do an excellent or good job. According to the survey results, victims of crime and those living in more deprived areas were less likely to have positive feelings towards the police.