NEARLY THREE-quarters of theft cases in Dorset were closed without police identifying a suspect last year, figures reveal.

However, Dorset Police have insisted that victims remain at the "heart of everything we do".

Home Office figures show Dorset Police closed 14,913 theft probes in 2021, 72 per cent of which had the outcome "investigation complete, no suspect identified".

This was up slightly from 71 per cent in 2020.

A further five per cent of all theft cases in Dorset closed with a suspect identified and the victim supporting an investigation but "evidential difficulties prevented further action", while 15 per cent were closed because the victim dropped the case.

And just five per cent resulted in a charge or summons, down from seven per cent the year before.

Victim Support said theft can have serious and long-term impacts on victims, robbing them of both their possessions and their sense of safety.

In Dorset, 63 per cent of cases of stolen motor vehicles were closed with no suspects identified, but other types of cases identified even fewer criminals.

No suspect was found in 93 per cent of cases of thefts from a vehicle, 89 per cent in bike thefts and 86 per cent in vehicle interference.

Assistant chief constable Rachel Farrell said: “We fully recognise the significant impact that theft offences can have on victims and we will continue to work hard to tackle these crimes. All crime matters to our communities and we will maintain our focus on providing an outstanding service to the people of Dorset, particularly those who are most vulnerable.

“We understand the public’s interest in detection rates and we all hold an expectation that those committing crime in our communities are bought to justice.

“The detection rates in Dorset are in line with the national trend for theft offences across the country. Nevertheless, Dorset Police is committed to relentlessly pursuing perpetrators of crime.”

The Assistant Chief Constable said that alongside working to gain convictions, the force is carrying out other measures, such as safeguarding vulnerable victims, responding to community issues or resolving anti-social behaviour.

She said: “Every reported crime is the subject of a detailed review and we will always ensure that any possible lines of enquiry are fully explored. Dorset Police has specialist officers who investigate crime series and identify ongoing crime trends.

“We are committed to working with our criminal justice partners to ensure the public has confidence in local justice and that we are not missing an opportunity to proactively tackle criminal behaviour.

“Victims are at the heart of everything we do. Being a victim of crime will be one of the most significant things in an individual’s life. Our commitment is to ensure Dorset becomes one of the safest counties in the country and we will work closer than ever with partners to reduce crime and bring offenders to justice.”