posted 9 months ago

Car Crime: Police Lack Cash To Investigate 30,000 Thefts A Year

Police fail to investigate tens of thousands of vehicle thefts per-annum preferring to spend limited resources elsewhere.

Police lack the resources to investigate tens of thousands of vehicle thefts per-annum which makes life harder for victims and easier for criminals, Accident Exchange research suggests.

The collision management specialist's freedom of information request data – from 43 of the United Kingdom's 45 police forces – shows that 117,000 vehicles were stolen each year between 2009 and 2014 (on average).

Of these thefts, 30,000 per-annum were not investigated by the authorities even though the estimated yearly value hit £173 million.

This figure is based on the average used value - £5,772 - of a car on

And it seems the police were less inclined to investigate thefts from businesses as some were considered civil law, rather than criminal issues.

Neil Thomas, Director of Investigative Services at Accident Exchange’s Fraud Investigation Department, said: “If a vehicle owned by a business rather than an individual – such as a fleet vehicle or garage courtesy car – goes missing, frequently the police tend to consider it a civil crime because the business has effectively allowed someone the use of that car.”

It might have been stolen by a person it was loaned to, after all. On this basis, the police might not act as their role relates to criminal actions.

'Not just companies'

Accident Exchange’s Neil Thomas added: “Increasing pressure on police forces in the form of budget cuts and overstretched resources means not enough time can be dedicated to the investigation and retrieval of stolen vehicles. But it isn’t just companies that are affected by the findings of our study – a proportion of those thefts not looked into will be private car owners, too.”

The traffic collision specialist continued: “This is further evidence that we need police, insurance firms, law enforcement agencies and private companies to join the dots and collaborate if we are going to truly take the fight to car thieves.”

'Not feasible'

Steve White, Chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, told Police Professional: “Due to years of lowered budgets, responding to every call and investigating every crime is simply no longer feasible.

The police service as a whole has to prioritise what we do and how we do it.”

Mr White continued: “We know that the public expects better of the police - and we believe that every crime matters to the victim, to society and to the law. We will continue to do the best we can with the resources we have”, he said.