Crackdown yields burglary success in Lowestoft and Waveney

Police targeting burglary.

Police targeting burglary. - Credit: Archant © 2013

Detectives this week vowed to continue their crackdown on persistent burglars in the Lowestoft area as they hailed 'a significant decrease' in the number of break-ins in Waveney.

Official figures were released on Monday showing that, across Suffolk, only one in nine of all burglaries committed in the last three years had ended with a successful prosecution.

But senior officers in Lowestoft said that a concerted effort to target prolific offenders was reaping dividends in Waveney, with a 30pc detection rate for home burglaries over the same three-year period.

The latest official figures show that during 2010 there were 1,192 break-ins in Waveney – including business premises, outbuildings and garages – and a total of 338 burglary-related arrests.

In the first six months of this year there were 430 offences reported, with 91 arrests.

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However, while 219 offences were solved in 2010 – just over 18pc – less than a tenth of those committed between January and June this year have so far ended in a successful prosecution.

Acting Det Insp Simon Bridgland said that despite the concerns raised by the countywide figures, the average detection rate for home burglaries in Waveney over the past three years was 30pc.

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He hailed the work of the force's Operation Converter team – which encourages offenders to confess to past offences after their arrest – and said the emphasis on house burglary was now having a clear impact.

He said: 'This is down to the focus we have put on tackling the crime. We acknowledge that there is more work to be done but we have a good record of catching prolific burglars and putting them before the courts.

'While the work of our Operation Converter team has seen a number of these offenders admit a series of crimes, there are burglars who refuse to take part in this – despite benefits both to victims of crime and to the offenders themselves.

'This means we can suspect an individual of being responsible for a large number of offences but if we only have evidence on one or two, these will be successfully prosecuted and detected.'

The countywide police figures which cover all burglaries – not just home break-ins – show that there were 17,896 offences reported across Suffolk between 2010 and June 24 this year, but only 2,035 cases resulted in a successful conviction.

Suffolk's police and crime commissioner Tim Passmore conceded that the detection rate had to be improved.

He said: 'I would like to see the trend of solving burglaries on a sustained upward curve. 100pc solved would be great but that's not realistic.

'As a priority I would like to see us becoming the best constabulary for solving rates and crime prevention in the country.'

Mr Passmore said extra resources and investment were being made available, and partnership work carried out, in an effort to encourage people to provide more information and tip-offs about burglaries.

The Suffolk-wide figures, released under the Freedom of Information Act, show that 3,743 arrests were made in connection with the burglaries – at homes, business premises, garage and other buildings – over the three-year period.

The number of burglaries reported fell from 5,544 in 2010, to 4,948 last year. However, the number of offences solved also decreased from 800 in 2010 to just 479 last year.

Reflecting on the Waveney figures, acting Det Insp Bridgland said: 'Over the past few years we have seen a significant decrease in the number of offences being committed thanks to work to target these prolific criminals and invariably we see a further drop in the weekly tally of crimes when they have been jailed and are no longer on our streets.

'We will be continuing to work to catch offenders and to detect crimes, including making pro-active plain clothes and uniformed patrols, making targeted visits and stop searches, taking advantage of forensic opportunities and using good old fashioned police work.'

? Suffolk's chief constable, Douglas Paxton, is embarking on a tour of the county, starting in Lowestoft next week. He will visit six towns over the summer and spend time meeting civic leaders and speaking to local people.

The tour starts opposite the Britten Centre in London Road North on Wednesday when Mr Paxton will be accompanied by members of local Safer Neighbourhood Teams and representatives from the force's Community Safety Unit, who will be giving out information.

The mobile police station will be in the town centre from 9am to 4pm, with Mr Paxton in Lowestoft from 10am to 2pm.

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