Burglary and Attendance (1396A/23)
1. For the crime of residential burglary, how many crimes included a visit to the property which was reported to have been burgled. Please supply the data for 2018-2022 inclusive and the overall number of residential burglaries reported in each year. If you cannot supply all years, please provide those which you can within the time limit.
2. Please provide a monthly breakdown for the number of burglaries recorded in January to August 2023 and the number which received visits from police officers.
3. If you are unable to provide data for question 1 and 2, please provide an explanation on how you are measuring the NPCC’s announcement on June 8th 2023 that all burglaries are now receiving a visit from a police officer
4. Please provide how many police officers attended a premise where shoplifting had been reported. Please supply the data for 2018-2022 inclusive and the overall number of shoplifting cases reported in each year. Please also provide a year to September figure for 2023.
Our data are not organised in such a way as to allow us to provide this information within the appropriate (cost) limit of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act (see ‘Reason for Decision’ below).
However, although excess cost removes the force’s obligations under the Freedom of Information Act, as a gesture of goodwill I have supplied information, relative to your request, retrieved before it was realised that the fees limit would be exceeded (see attached 1396A_23_attachment.pdf). I trust this is helpful, but it does not affect our legal right to rely on the fees regulations for the remainder of the request.
We fully understand the devastating impact burglary can have on those affected whether in their home or business environment.
Since December 2022, our response to incidents of burglary changed. Following a national agreement, we now attend all reported residential burglaries, unless the victim states they do not wish us to attend.
We’re committed to following the trail of evidence in all the cases we examine − but if an investigation finds no witnesses, CCTV or forensic evidence then the chances of identifying offenders is vastly reduced.
We saw a natural increase in burglary offences following the lifting of Covid restrictions which meant that as people began leaving their homes more, burglary figures rose. However, we have seen a fall in figures during 2023. This was partly due to the force recognising that burglary was a priority offence and strategies were put in place to help reduce this crime, which includes working with our regional forces to target burglary suspects and organised crime gangs.
We also look at the underlying causes of burglary and the people who commit these crimes and have invested in rehabilitation and intervention programmes to help reduce these offences.
The results of these comprehensive measures are encouraging. So far there have been 480 fewer victims of burglary. We continuously evaluate and refine our strategies, we remain committed to providing a safer environment for all members of the public.
Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete. However, it is important to note that these data have been extracted from a number of data sources used by forces for police purposes. The detail collected to respond specifically to your request is subject to the inaccuracies inherent in any large scale recording system. As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when interpreting those data.
The figures provided therefore are our best interpretation of relevance of data to your request, but you should be aware that the collation of figures for ad hoc requests may have limitations and this should be taken into account when those data are used.
If you decide to write an article / use the enclosed data we would ask you to take into consideration the factors highlighted in this document so as to not mislead members of the public or official bodies, or misrepresent the relevance of the whole or any part of this disclosed material.
As recommended as good practice by the Information Commissioner’s Office a version of this response may be published on the West Midlands Police website.
REASON FOR DECISION
Regarding questions 1 and 4, it is not possible to determine the number of burglaries attended prior to May 2021, or shoplifting offences attended for the whole period, without going into the case files of both offence types from those periods. However, this would involve manually reviewing tens of thousands of records and such a search would far exceed the appropriate limit (FOIA, s.12).
This means that the cost of compliance with the whole of your request is above the amount to which we are legally required to respond, i.e. the cost of locating and retrieving the information would exceed the appropriate costs limit under section 12(1) of the FOI Act 2000. For West Midlands Police, the appropriate limit is set at £450, as prescribed by the Freedom of Information and Data Protection (Appropriate Limit and Fees) Regulations 2004, S.I. 3244.
Further information on section 12 of FOI is available here: