More than a third of crimes ‘screened out’

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Beds Police bosses have denied they are ignoring crimes after criticism over offences being “screened out”.

An investigation by the Sunday Times found the force abandoned investigations into 39 per cent of crimes reported in 2011/12.

The Met Police screened out 44 per cent and Northamptonshire 33 per cent.

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A Beds Police spokesman said: “The screening out of crime does not mean it is ignored. Many crimes receive an automatic police and scenes of crime response to establish what evidence is available.

“An example of a screened out crime could be an isolated case of criminal damage to a fence that has not been witnessed and there is no forensic evidence. Another might be a theft from a motor vehicle where a scene of crime examiner has found no useful evidence, such as fingerprints or blood.

“Once the initial officer has completed all available lines of inquiry the crime report is filed as screened out.

“A small number of crimes are not further investigated because, following initial assessment, it is clear that there were never any available lines of inquiry.

“Both these sorts of reports are kept on file and reinvestigated if new evidence or crime trends come to light. This is common to many forces.”