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Improving forensic tests could help burglary victims
2:00pm Wednesday 7th August 2013 in News
FORENSIC tests in Essex are not up to standard and burglary victims may have been denied justice as a result.
Chief Constable Stephen Kavanagh is making changes to burglary investigations after it was revealed less than one in five are solved in the county.
During the past ten years there has been a 50 per cent increase in home burglaries in Essex.
In 2012/13 the number rose by 860 to a high of 7883.
Figures also revealed less than one in ten non domestic burglaries are solved.
Police and Crime Commissioner Nick Alston said: “That is pretty grim
“I am often told it takes a long time to turn up.
“There has been an increase in the last couple of years and frankly it is quite shocking.
“I want to see the number of incidents coming down and Mr Kavanagh believes catching the people responsible is an important way of doing it.”
The figures for the first three months of this year are more encouraging.
Between April and June the rate of home burglaries dropped by 0.5 per cent on last year and the detection rate hit 16.6 per cent - compared to less than ten per cent during the same period last year.
But Mr Kavanagh wants more to be done and has looked as far afield as Los Angeles to find out what works elsewhere as well as launching several operations to catch more burglars.
He said: “There is more for us to do. If you are a shop, industrial unit or outbuilding we are only at 7.4 per cent.
“It puts us in the bottom quartile.
“The investigation process with dwelling burglaries is not being dome sufficiently quickly.”
He descrived the crime scene investigations in Essex as not the “most efficient or cost effective”.
He added: “The good news is now there has been a reduction and a greater number caught.
“But It needs to be reviewed.”
Mr Kavanagh also revealed in the recent past it may have taken several days before they got DNA or fingerprints but now it is coming down to a matter of hours which will help police to catch those responsible.
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