BEAT bobbies are having to investigate burglaries and thefts due to a shortage in detectives, says the police watchdog.
Junior uniformed officers are also probing thefts and violent assaults — often over the phone — because of the shortfall.
Victims were let down in one in four cases as rookies without the necessary experience or qualifications failed to gather evidence or missed potential lines of inquiry, a report revealed.
The risk of corruption is also growing as hard-pressed forces are not funding units that root out bad apples as in BBC hit Line Of Duty.
HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services looked into probes at 14 forces.
It found widening “cracks in the system” as crime and demand both rise amid budget cuts.
HM Inspector of Constabulary Matt Parr said: “There is too big a gap between what police can do, and what the public expect. It used to be that you’d have your CID, your response force, your community policing. They all had very discrete jobs.
“Response officers didn’t do investigations. Now they do. They don’t have the same accreditation, they don’t have the same experience.”
The probe said the number of 999 calls rose five per cent nationally to nearly ten million in 2017/18. Calls to 101 fell three per cent, it added, indicating the public was “losing confidence” in the non-emergency service.
Cop chase boost
LAW changes for police chases have moved closer amid fears moped gangs are out of control.
Emergency services drivers are exempt from speed and traffic violations on a 999 response.
But the same legal test for dangerous driving is applied to police as to the public.
Now cops could be excused after a public consultation backed a change. Home Secretary Sajid Javid said: “It’s vital police feel protected during pursuits. It’s crucial we send a message that criminals cannot escape arrest by driving recklessly.”
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The inspectorate concluded that police were delivering a good service despite “dwindling resources”. The number of officers fell by nearly 20,000 from 2010 to 2018.
The Home Office said: “We recognise new demands are putting pressure on the police.
“This is why we have provided more than a £1billion increase in police funding compared with last year.”
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