Police have failed to fully investigate millions of crimes, figures reveal.
Almost 500,000 were “screened out” by 16 forces last year alone.
New crime figures are published today following a warning they cannot be trusted.
The UK Statistics Authority claims they will soar once an audit of the way police record offences is completed.
Ten forces who responded to Mirror freedom of information requests insisted they do not “screen out” – meaning there is only a preliminary investigation.
But we found others such as the Met and Norfolk Police take no further action in almost half the cases.
Met officers screened out an average of 360,542 a year in the four years to April 2013, or 45%. In Norfolk the figure was 20,690 or 49%.
Police shelved 488,852 crimes reported to forces who supplied figures last year – and more than two million since 2010.
They include more than 100,000 violent crimes.
Shadow Policing minister Jack Dromey urged the Office for National Statistics to investigate the practice.
“People will rightly want to know why some police forces say that they do not screen crimes at all, when others are apparently investigating less than half of reported crime,” he said.
“Moreover, they will want to know on what basis the decision to ‘screen’ a crime is made, and whether the decisions are affected by the Government’s decision to axe more than 10,000 front line police officers from our streets.”
The Labour MP added: “It’s is absolutely crucial that the public have faith in the criminal justice system, and confidence in the way that reported crime is dealt with.
“This is why I am calling on the ONS to independently audit the figures for screened crime in every Constabulary in England and Wales.
“It is also time for Theresa May to explain these figures, and come clean as to whether the huge numbers of crimes not investigated are linked to her slashing of frontline police.”
Norfolk Constabulary stressed that they visit every victim of crime to carry out a primary investigation “regardless of the severity of the offence”.
“This helps us to maximise the effectiveness of our resources so we can focus our efforts on investigating those crimes that are solvable,” a spokeswoman said.
Inquiries are only shelved when all leads are exhausted, the spokeswoman said.
“All undetected crimes remain open and any new information received will be considered,” she added.
Voice of the Mirror
By screening out nearly 500,000 crimes, including sex assaults and burglaries, police forces have further eroded public confidence in today’s crime figures.
When they fail to fully investigate so many offences, victims are denied justice and official statistics are undermined.
Lord Stevens, a former Metropolitan Police Commissioner, warned in the daily Mirror this week that the only crime statistic you can trust is murder. Because you can’t get rid of a body.
When some forces shelve nearly half of all reported crimes, law and order becomes another postcode lottery. Criminals are laughing at us.
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