MORE than 13,000 crimes have gone unsolved on the Fylde coast in the last year.
While police chiefs defended their record on solving crime, those who represent rank and file officers fear more offenders will escape justice due to massive cutbacks.
They include 200 sex offences – 63 of those rapes – 77 robberies, 72 cases of arson and more than 1,800 burglaries from homes and businesses.
The shocking figures – which show two thirds of offences in Blackpool and Fylde are still to be detected – were today revealed to The Gazette after a Freedom of Information request to Lancashire Police.
Lancashire Police is currently looking at slashing £42m from its budget over four years – including 550 police officers being axed – as part of Government cuts.
John O’Reilly, chairman of Lancashire Police Federation, said: “A 34 per cent detection rate – is that really good enough?
“Some crimes we will never find out about them – we just don’t have the resources to put into trying to detect them.
“I’m sure every officer would wish every crime could be detected but we can’t be everywhere at the same time.
“And 550 fewer officers is bound to have a bearing on the ability of the police to detect crime.”
The figures include:
- One undetected homicide – following the death of 21-year-old Roseanna Cooper after the car she was travelling in crashed in Cleveleys on June 7.
- A gang of masked raiders who smashed their way into jewellers Leonard Dews on Clifton Street, Lytham, and stole diamonds and watches on September 22 also still remain at large.
- A vicious gang of thugs who assaulted a 20-year-old man – leaving a footprint on his face – on George Street, Blackpool in June have also yet to be caught.
A blaze at Blackpool Cricket Club is among the 72 unsolved arson attacks in Blackpool and Fylde.
Firebugs caused £20,000 of damage in May, which club chairman David Cresswell described as “devastating” for the volunteers who were tasked with clearing up the mess.
He said: “The police made inquiries and it was put down to a malicious fire. It’s a frustration that it’s unsolved.
“We put in all our free time and then someone comes along and does this. It’s a kick in the teeth.
“We’ve had to make a significant investment to take further security precautions.”
The 13,141 undetected crimes in Blackpool and Fylde’s Western Division – out of a total number of reports of 19,688 – were recorded between November 1, 2010 and October 31, this year.
They remained unsolved on the police’s crime recording system as at November 3.
The response stated 2,855 of the crime reports had suspect details such as a description of an offender or vehicle details – 1,610 of these showed a named suspect.
Gordon Marsden, MP for Blackpool South, said: “I would like to see crime detection rates improve.
“We have to take into account a lot of these crimes are committed by transient people who might not stay in Blackpool for long - that’s going to make it tricky to detect.
“The police are not going to be helped by cuts – which we have seen in stations and services locally. The Government isn’t going to help.”
Blackpool Police today defended its record and said many of the cases were still live investigations with others only recently reported.
Supt Bill McMahon, Blackpool Police’s second in command, said the division’s performance of detecting crime is currently 34.4 per cent which is comparable to the rest of the county.
He said: “We work extremely hard to conduct these investigations, identify offenders and bring them to justice.
“Detection rates are comparable to other divisions. We’re not complacent and our aim is to continue to work hard on these detections.
“Some of these cases are complex but nonetheless we’ll work hard to investigate them. They remain live investigations and we will not give up on targeting these offenders and bringing them to justice.”
Paul Maynard, MP for Blackpool North and Cleveleys, added: “I’m sure local residents will be alarmed by the headline figures.
“The police do their best to make sure offenders are caught.
“We have to be careful not to over-indulge on one measure of the effectiveness of the police service.
“I would feel disappointed if people felt they were not able to report a crime to the police.”