Police `turn blind eye to criminals'

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The Independent Online
Senior police officers are allowing criminal gangs to operate unhindered provided they carry out their illegal activities in other parts of the country, a Home Office report has found, writes Jason Bennetto.

Researchers discovered that some commanders were reluctant to devote resources to investigating known criminals who were not causing problems in their own area. Examples of the practice of turning a blind eye were found in all three mainland forces - Surrey, Bedfordshire and Northumbria - examined. The study, Tackling Cross Border Crime, by the Police Research Group, highlighted the issue as part of the lack of communication between forces.

From analysis of 16 forces in England and Wales, the report estimated that about 10 per cent of all crime was committed by villains crossing into neighbouring force areas, although in some areas it accounted for up to 23 per cent of offences.

It said: "... in one metropolitan force with an organised ring of criminals living in this area but who were committing little crime there, [police] were not prepared to utilise divisional detectives to investigate that ring, even though it was believed that they were committing serious crime elsewhere."