Letter: Police inaction on petty crime

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The Independent Online
Sir: Last summer our neighbour's house was burgled in daylight. The front door was forced open and a video recorder stolen. The next day, another neighbour learnt of these events and recalled seeing a suspicious car parked in a leafy alley 15 metres from the burgled house at the time the robbery occurred. She had noted the make and the registration number of the car.

Cheshire police took no action, on the grounds that the car was 'in the vicinity' and not 'in the street'. Two months later, the police reported that the crime was unsolved. In effect, they seemed not to be interested in a 'victimless crime'.

I discussed this with an ex-policeman from Hull, who said that when he started his duties he asked his sergeant how to deal with a report of a stolen bicycle. He was told to ask someone on his shift what they did. 'Put the papers in your pigeon-hole for two months and then let the people know that you couldn't trace it,' was the reply.

These may not be major crimes, but they are common crimes, which will become more common if the police are not interested in dealing with them. Also, the police will lose the confidence of the community and its respect.

Yours faithfully,

MICHAEL BURKE

Willaston, Cheshire

23 February

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