(Natural News) A U.K. government watchdog has pointed out that British police forces have avoided apprehending criminals during the ongoing pandemic. Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) said in a report that officers have been writing off various offenses “with no further action.” The report warned that the reduced focus on crime could have a negative impact on victims and trust in law enforcement.
According to the HMICFRS report commissioned by Home Secretary Priti Patel, officers have been offering a partly “reduced service” for actual crimes due to their focus on COVID-19 lockdown violations. It noted that police officers are now more likely to close a case without even meeting victims because of this. Even worse, some crime reports have been dropped at the first opportunity because of the existing lockdowns.
The 74-page report titled, “Policing in the Pandemic” also noted a few examples of law enforcement refusing to pursue “any outstanding investigations that could result in arrest.” Some cases involved wanted criminals remaining on the loose due to officers failing to chase up arrest warrants. Other cases involved sex offenders being supervised less – which puts vulnerable victims at greater risk.
The HMICFRS inspectors noted in the report that changes brought about by the pandemic “resulted in a reduced service in some areas of police work.” During this time, many people resorted to reporting crimes online instead of over the telephone – but some victims had to wait for two hours before a response. “Routine requests for service were more likely to receive a remote response … rather than a police officer or [staff member] attending,” the findings said.
HMICFRS also pointed out a “growing trend” of cases being closed – despite victims not even meeting with a police officer to discuss the crime. The watchdog remarked that “a move to telephone … and desk-based resolutions” only exacerbated the problem. “We found that responding without deployment was expanding into resolution without deployment,” it said.
The HMICFRS inspectors suggested two recommendations for law enforcement officers. First, they called for a careful examination of whether the pandemic contributed to more victims refusing to cooperate with authorities. Second, they also called for ways that police officers can establish a rapport with crime victims and witnesses.
The watchdog also threw in its two cents on the matter of police closing more crime reports. It said that “some forces increased the number of crimes they decided not to investigate because they were unlikely to be solved.” Despite this reality, it warned: “Any changes in decisions about whether to investigate offenses with viable lines of inquiry or named suspects would be especially worrying.”
U.K. paying price for prioritizing lockdown breaches over actual crimes
For British police officers, catching dangerous criminals has taken the back seat. They have instead focused on deploying drones over tourist spots, telling children not to play in front gardens and slapping fines on people who violate COVID-19 guidelines. Because of these, the U.K.’s law enforcement officers have become the target of widespread criticism.
Member of Parliament for Broxbourne, Charles Walker acknowledged the impossible demands politicians imposed on the police. He remarked: “We have asked the police to prioritize handing out [COVID-19] fines above most of their duties, and the consequences to this are a much-reduced service.” Walker continued that “confidence in law enforcement has been damaged and relations between the police and the communities they serve will need to be rebuilt.”
Ever since the U.K. locked itself down at the onset of the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic, British law enforcement has directed its efforts to ensure people follow government-mandated restrictions. It even reached the point that police officers would enter private houses and break up Christmas festivities over purported breaches of lockdown rules.
Back in October 2020, Neon Nettle reported that U.K. police would look into reports of lockdown rules being flouted during the Christmas season. “If [police officers] think [there are] large groups of people gathering where they shouldn’t be, then police will have to intervene,” West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson warned. (Related: UK COVID police start enforcing lockdown by visiting people’s homes.)
Merseyside Police and Crime Commissioner Jane Kennedy also shared Jamieson’s sentiments. Echoing the warning of her fellow commissioner, she announced that she would also look into illegal gatherings during the holidays.
“It’s not the police’s job to stop people enjoying their Christmas. However, we are there to enforce the rules that the government makes. [If] the government makes those rules, then [it] has to explain [those rules] to the public,” the West Midlands official remarked.