Focus on reports of crimes that are likely to be solved made to the police
We investigated how much time passes between the moment someone makes a report and the moment the police begin to deal with it. We also looked at whether the response was slower in rural areas than in urban areas, and whether the response was slower in the summer.
70% of reports of crimes that are likely to be solved addressed within ten days
According to the police registration system (BOSZ), the police responded to 70.2% of the reports of crimes that are likely to be solved made between 1 January and 31 July 2017 within ten days, but took 60 days or longer to respond to 7% of the reports of crimes that are likely to be solved. The response to shoplifting was relatively faster (within three days) than the response to, for example, burglary. This might be because shoplifters are caught red handed. A ‘response’, incidentally, does not mean a detective or other police officer takes immediate action.
Police in rural areas do not take longer than police in urban areas to respond to reports of crimes that are likely to be solved. The opposite actually seems to be the case: the rural teams we audited responded to 73.1% of the reports of crimes that are likely to be solved within ten days; their counterparts in urban forces started to deal with 62.5% of the cases within ten days.
We also compared the response to reports of crimes that are likely to be solved made in the summer month of July to the response time in March and May. The figures show that the response time was slightly longer in July than in March and May; 9.7% of the reports were not dealt with within 60 days, versus 7% over the period as a whole.
We carried out our audit in the light of questions about the capacity of the police force (see below). Data from the BOSZ police registration system indicate that the police make little use of their ability to close a case early owing to lack of capacity.
Why did we audit the police response time to reports?
It has often been said in recent years that reports made to the police were put to one side for far too long or disappeared into a filing cabinet. The complaints reflect wider concerns that the police do not have the capacity they need to carry out their basic tasks effectively. In spring 2017, the King’s Commissioners were critical of the sparse police presence in rural areas. Police officers and police unions, moreover, warned that the capacity was even lower in the summer months.
What standards and methods did we use to audit the police response time?
Focus on reports of crimes that are likely to be solved made to the police is the first in a new type of rapid audit. The audit methodology is explained in Bijlagen (in Dutch).