THIEVES who break into vehicles in Blackpool are going unpunished due to the way crimes are solved.
More than a third of incidents solved by police in the resort have been “taken into consideration” which allows raiders to admit previous crimes to wipe their slate clean but in return face no charges or prosecution for them.
The latest figures, released to The Gazette following a Freedom of Information request, show there were 548 thefts from vehicles reported in Blackpool last year.
Of those, 127 were solved with 43 of those having been “taken into consideration”.
Community crime fighter Julie Bascombe, of Harrison Street, central Blackpool, recently won an award for her work improving her community.
She said: “If anybody commits a crime there should be some sort of punishment and the crimes should be dealt with individually.
“It’s not a group booking where you only get punished for the one crime.”
Crown Prosecution Service guidance says the measure allows a court to have a more complete picture of an offender’s character and background, but it also states that because there is no charge or prosecution for those crimes taken into consideration there can be no punishment.
But police today backed the method saying it encouraged criminals to come clean about there actions.
Det Chief Insp Tim Leeson, of Blackpool Police, told The Gazette: “Offenders have to admit the offence they have been arrested for and the information is corroborated by police.”
Mr Leeson highlighted three benefits to the procedure.
He added: “Firstly, it provides the victim closure.
“Secondly, it allows the offender to purge themselves of criminality.
“Thirdly, the police can list the crime as solved.
“We have the best detection rate in the force for vehicle crime with 30.7 per cent, and vehicle crime has dropped by 14 per cent.”
But Ms Bascombe said: “I’m not bothered about the figures. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a broken window or something has been stolen, it’s a crime and the victim needs to know it is being punished.”
There were 233 cases of stolen vehicles reported in Blackpool last year, out of which 74 were solved with seven taken into consideration.
WHAT do you think about the way car crime is punished? E-mail letters@blackpool gazette.co.uk