3 crimes out of 4 unsolved

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NEARLY three-quarters of all crimes committed in South Yorkshire last year remain unsolved, The Star can reveal.

Of 102,145 offences reported to police last year, 28,595 - 28 per cent - were cracked.

The figures, released as part of The Star’s Your Right To Know campaign, show South Yorkshire Police officers were least successful at investigating arson attacks such as bin and car fires.

Of 893 offences reported, 34 were solved - a 3.8 per cent detection rate. And the detection rate for rapes last year stood at 21 per cent, with 66 of 315 cases solved.

Officers proved most successful at investigating deaths caused by driving, with all five offences reported to the force solved.

Detectives achieved a 95.7 per cent detection rate for murders, with 22 out of 23 cases cracked. They solved 95.4 per cent of the 3,632 drug possession offences recorded.

And the figures show South Yorkshire Police are getting better at investigating burglary, with 28.9 per cent of 7,448 offences solved last year, compared to 19.6 per cent in 2007. The new figures place the force second best in the country at burglary detection.

Temporary Assistant Chief Constable Bob Sanderson said the force’s overall crime detection rate is on a par with the national average.

And he said officers prioritise offences according to targets set by the county’s Police Authority, based on concerns raised by the public.

He said officers assess the ‘solvability’ of each crime and do not waste time and resources following up incidents reported late when there were no witnesses and there is little prospect of ever finding the culprits.

Christine Empson, Victim Support’s divisional manager for South Yorkshire, said: “Ideally we would like to see every reported crime solved but inevitably many will remain unsolved, despite the best efforts of the police, due to a lack of evidence.

“However, it is vital all victims are kept fully informed about the progress of their cases at all times as this can help bring closure even if the case remains unsolved. It is also important victims continue to report crime - otherwise there is no chance whatsoever of their crimes being solved.”

A South Yorkshire Fire Service spokesman said: “We recognise arson can be a difficult crime to solve and work closely with the police to share data and intelligence. We regard arson as a very serious crime.”