Car thieves “getting away with it” as almost 10,000 cases go unsolved in the Thames Valley since last election

30 Jun 2024
Two police officers.

Reading Liberal Democrats have accused the Conservatives of letting their communities down as a new analysis of Home Office statistics reveals that almost 10,000 car thefts have gone unsolved in the Thames Valley since the last election.

The data shows around 1 in 20 of car thefts in the Thames Valley Police area resulted in a suspect being charged or summonsed. 

National figures paint a similarly bleak picture, with 3 in 4 of car thefts going unsolved since the last election. The number of unsolved car thefts has also soared in this period, with a 42% rise from 76,333 in 2020 to 108,934 last year.

Reading Liberal Democrats have slammed the Conservative Party for these stark figures, arguing that years of ineffective resourcing have decimated frontline policing. This includes their decision to take over 4,500 Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) off the streets since 2015.

The Liberal Democrats are calling for Police and Crime Commissioners to be abolished and the savings invested into frontline policing instead - a move that could generate around £170 million over the course of the next Parliament.

This will help enable a return to proper community policing - where officers are visible, trusted, and have the time to focus on preventing and solving neighbourhood crimes - so that criminals can no longer act with impunity. 

Commenting on the figures, Liberal Democrat Candidate for Reading West & Mid-Berkshire, Helen Belcher said:

“Criminals are getting away with almost every car theft in Reading - which is an outrageous failure from the Conservative Government.

“These thieves have brought misery to our communities, and must be caught but the local police are too overstretched to actually do it. By slashing community officer numbers, the Conservatives are only benefiting the criminals.”

“We need a return to proper community policing, with visible officers who are preventing and tackling crime.”

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