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Low clear-up rate in the police's work on crimes against property

The police only clear up a small proportion of reported crimes against property. The overall clear-up rate for crimes against property in 2010 was 16.6 per cent. - The criminal justice authorities must ensure that the police give higher priority to crimes against property, for example through good work methods, because clearing up these crimes is crucial to people's confidence in the police, says Auditor General Jørgen Kosmo.
Published 1/31/2012 12:30 PM

Document 3:6 (2011-2012) The Office of the Auditor General’s investigation into the police's work on crimes against property was submitted to the Storting on 31 January 2012. The clear-up rate has been low in recent years and it fell steadily until 2010, when it rose somewhat. The low clear-up rate also applies to housebreaking. The clear-up rate for aggravated theft from residential properties has been around 13 per cent in recent years.

- It is particularly worrying that the clear-up rate for these serious violations of integrity is not higher, says Auditor General Jørgen Kosmo.

The Office of the Auditor General's investigation shows that there are several reasons for the low clear-up rate for crimes against property. Some crimes against property are difficult to clear up due to a lack of clues. However, the investigation shows that there are other reasons for the low clear-up rate, including that crimes against property are not given sufficient priority by the leadership, that resources are not dedicated to crimes against property in the police districts, that there is too little cooperation across police districts and that analytical competence is lacking.It is therefore important for the police to find more effective methods of combating crimes against property. The investigation shows that preventive work in cooperation with the general public and others, support from the leadership of the police districts, groups dedicated to working on crimes against property and good analytical competence are important success criteria for combating crimes against property. The Office of the Auditor General's investigation shows that some police districts have better results than others in their work on combating crimes against property.

- This does not have to do with resources and geography, but is the result of these police districts employing different work methods and taking a different approach, Jørgen Kosmo says.

The number of reported crimes against property has decreased in recent years. The decrease is partly the result of the police having implemented measures against crimes against property, and against mobile criminals in particular. Preventive measures are also very important in relation to reducing crimes against property. The Office of the Auditor General believes that other factors also contribute to the decrease. One factor could be that the public report this kind of crime to a lesser extent than before.

People who have been in contact with the police after having been victims of a criminal offence have less confidence in the police than the population in general. The police's work on crimes against property such as theft and housebreaking is one of the factors that score lowest as regards the reputation of the police. Public confidence is important if the police are to succeed.

- It is therefore important that the Ministry of Justice and the National Police Directorate focus on this and also highlight good practice in the time ahead, Kosmo says.

The Ministry of Justice states that the Office of the Auditor General's investigation makes a valuable contribution to the Ministry's continued efforts to combat crimes against property.

The document can be downloaded via the link on the right. Public institutions can order the document from the Government Administration Services, tel. (+47) 22 24 20 00, publikasjonsbestilling@dss.dep.no. Others can order it from Fagbokforlaget AS, tel. (+47) 55 38 66 00, offpub@fagbokforlaget.no.

The deferral of public access to documents prepared by or for the Office of the Auditor General in connection with Document No 3:6 (2011-2012), cf. the Act relating to the Office of the Auditor General section 18 second paragraph, is hereby set aside.

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