New Met chief: give victims their say


Click to follow
The Independent Online

Victims of crime should be able to decide whether police investigate offences committed against them, the new Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police has said.

Bernard Hogan-Howe made the call yesterday in an bid to stop officers giving up on cases that are difficult to solve. Too many officers were "screening out" cases and halting inquiries, he said, arguing that victims should decide whether officers pursue an investigation.

Mr Hogan-Howe, speaking on his second day in charge of the Met, said 361,180 offences were "screened out" last year, meaning officers had decided that the crimes required no further investigation. "That is one area where we can improve," he said yesterday. "Should we continue to screen out crimes, which I think has been accepted as a good way of dealing with things in the past?

He said that this was an area he addressed in his previous role as chief constable of Merseyside. "Certainly in Merseyside, we left it to the victim to decide if we should attend or investigate crimes."

Britain's top officer also said that he hopes to catch crooks by harnessing hi-tech facial recognition technology controversially pioneered by Facebook. He also announced plans to broaden the use of DNA tracing and vehicle number plate recognition gadgets.

Mr Hogan-Howe prompted headlines during his time in Merseyside for using remote-control helicopters fitted with CCTV cameras to tackle anti-social behaviour and public disorder.