Police chief says burglary victims must 'take responsibility' if they leave windows open

'It is the police's job to detect and investigate such crimes, not to penalise law-abiding citizens who may have made a mistake,' says MP

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A senior police officer has suggested victims of burglaries should “take responsibility” if they have left their doors or windows open.

Phil Kay, assistant chief constable of Leicestershire Police, prompted widespread anger by saying he would rather his officers focus on fighting crime than investigating break-ins where people may have been careless.

In comments labelled "astounding", he also said the police could bring in a method similar to that employed by the NHS when they are treating the clinically obese.

Mr Kay, who made the suggestion while discussing high rates of burglaries at Loughborough University student halls, told the Loughborough Echo: ”What the NHS will say is 'we are not going to operate on you because your body mass is too high'. 

”They have not helped themselves to prevent an illness.

”Yet if people leave doors or windows open there is an expectation the police will investigate.

”I would far rather my officers were spending time preventing crime, protecting the public and focusing on other stuff than things that are preventable.

”It is right that we try and stop it but it is right that people take responsibility.”

Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen, who represents North West Leicestershire, said: ”I would like to hope that the force are putting this out there as a way of reminding the public of the importance of not leaving doors or windows open.

"But it is their job to detect and investigate such crimes, not to penalise law-abiding citizens who may have made a mistake.”

Sandie Forrest, a local councillor, said she was ”astounded” by the comments and that the comparison with the NHS was a “poor one”.

She told the Echo: ”I think the comparison that the police are making with the NHS is a poor one because at the end of the day the NHS will intervene at some stage.

"I appreciate that the police have an enormously difficult job to do, but this would be extremely unpopular with the public."