New figures reveal Bedfordshire Police is the worst force in the UK for unsolved burglaries
82% of cases are closed without a suspect
New evidence has revealed more than three quarters of Bedfordshire burglary investigations (82 per cent) were closed this year without a suspect.
International security company SECOM Plc uncovered the startling new statistic, comparing the force with others in the country.
And it makes for some uncomfortable reading for Bedfordshire Police - who fared worse than Merseyside Police, South Yorkshire Police, Cambridgeshire Constabulary, Lincolnshire Police and Surrey Police - with the highest rate of unnamed burglars in the country.
Bedfordshire Police said over the past year - while people were staying at home - burglaries had decreased but admitted it needed to do better.
Detective Sergeant Gemma Pugh, from the police’s dedicated burglary team, said: “Although we recognise that improvement is needed locally, with the national average of unidentified burglars at around 77 per cent, this is a challenge that every county faces and our dedicated team are working hard to make strides in this.
“Over the past year we have seen reports of house burglaries in Bedfordshire decrease by 34 per cent, with recorded burglaries reaching their lowest ever levels in the county in July."
Office for National Statistics data shows a drop in crime overall in the 12 months to June.
However, Nick Stripe, head of crime statistics at the ONS, said the figures showed reductions in the reporting and recording of many crime types during periods of lockdown.
Detective Sergeant Pugh added: “We know that burglary can have a devastating impact on the victim and my team work really hard to bring offenders to justice. Since January 2021 we have charged and taken 48 people to court for burglary-related offences.
“There are always challenges when investigating burglaries, but when it comes to investigating a residential burglary there can be less evidential opportunities available then compared to investigating other types of burglaries.
"This is because there aren’t always CCTV opportunities, there can be limited witnesses due to the reduced footfall at the time of day and offenders often disguise their appearance to protect their identity and reduce the chance of forensics."
Police have issued the following advice:
Use your lights at home – keep them on a timer when you are out so it looks like someone is home
Make sure all doors on your house and vehicle are securely locked at all times. If you have a UPVC door at home, make sure it is double locked
Keep all valuables and keys safely out of sight from windows, both in your home and car. Close curtains with a light on indoors
Never leave garages or sheds unlocked – not only can valuable tools be appealing to thieves, they can also be used to force entry to your home
Don’t hide your keys under a doormat or in a flowerpot – it’s the first place a would-be offender will look
Ask a friend to keep an eye on your house when you go away, and do the same for neighbours by remaining alert to suspicious activity in your street