By Iain Gould, Solicitor
Sir Peter Fahy, the Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police (the second largest police force in England & Wales) and vice-president of the Association of Chief Police Officers said yesterday that only 40% of reported cases of crime were being investigated.
He blamed a lack of resources and said that his force followed a strategy “adopted” by other police forces.
Sir Peter (shown above) was interviewed on camera on The Independent’s website and, in a statement released by his Police force, said:
In the same way that the health service concentrates on the most serious illnesses and the treatments likely to have most effect, the police have to concentrate on the most serious crimes and those where there are lines of investigation likely to produce evidence of the offender. In practice, this translates into about 40% of crime being actively pursued at any time.
He added that there is:
A balance between investigating crime after it happened and targeting known offenders. Most crime is committed by a relatively small group of persistent offenders. So in continuing to reduce crime, we balance between investigating offences after they have happened and targeting those who we know are out there every day, looking for criminal opportunities.
Police abuse of powers
Whilst such a strategy may be acceptable to the public at large, the danger is that it will result in police officers simply rounding up ‘the usual suspects’ without evidence to suggest that those individuals are responsible.
I highlighted in an earlier blog that this can result in a situation where the police abuse their legal powers.
As I explained, the police must have ‘reasonable grounds’ to arrest in line with Section 24 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (‘PACE’).
In the absence of lawful authority, such an arrest can lead to a claim for wrongful arrest, false imprisonment and possibly misfeasance (see my website’s ‘what are actions against the police?’ section for more details).
Sir Peter’s comments only go to highlight my experience that many police forces abuse their power to arrest. As I explained in my previous blog post, people like ‘Mr. X’ (name withheld as his case continues) have suffered as a result of this policy of police abuse.
I urge Greater Manchester Police and all other police forces to review their policies to prevent further miscarriages of justice.