Car thieves “getting away with it” as 17,245 cases go unsolved in West Yorkshire since last election

14 Jun 2024
Two police officers.

Leeds Liberal Democrats have accused the Conservatives of letting their communities down as a new analysis of Home Office statistics reveals that 17,245 car thefts have gone unsolved in West Yorkshire since the last election. 

The data shows just 4% of car thefts in the West Yorkshire police force resulted in a suspect being charged or summonsed. 

National figures paint a similarly bleak picture, with 76% 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.

Leeds 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 Spokesperson for Leeds South, George Sykes said:

“Criminals are getting away with almost every car theft in Leeds - 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.”

Additional data

Full data, broken down by police force, is available here. Data taken from Home Office, Police recorded crime open data Police Force Area tables from year ending March 2013 onwards.

Data on PCSO workforces is available at: Home Office, ‘Police workforce, England and Wales, 30 September 2023: data tables’, Table 3.

Scrapping Police and Crime Commissioners is estimated to save £170m over five years, through savings on expenses and office costs.

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