Police hit back in “open windows” row


Leicestershire police hit back after open window burglary comments

Image caption
Official crime statistics show Leicestershire has the 7th highest rate of burglary per 1,000 households

A police force accused of suggesting burglaries should not be investigated if windows were left open said its comments were “taken out of context”.

Leicestershire Police”s assistant chief constable told the Loughborough Echo homeowners might “take notice” if they thought police would not investigate.

The Daily Mail re-published the comments with the headline: “Now police blame victims for being burgled”.

But a force spokesman said the comment was hypothetical.

MP Edward Garnier has insisted police should “bear down on criminality”.

“Poor comparison”

Burglary rate in Leicestershire


burglaries recorded 2015-16


burglaries per 1,000 households

  • 7th highest rate of burglaries per 1,000 households

  • 4,314 domestic burglaries

  • 3,680 non-domestic burglaries


The force"s assistant chief constable, Phil Kay, told the Loughborough Echo he would "far rather" officers focus on preventing crime and protecting the public than spending their time investigating break-ins where carelessness may have played a role.

He also said: "What the National Health Service will say is "we are not going to operate on you because your body mass is too high. They have not helped themselves to prevent an illness."

"Foolish householders"

"Yet if people leave doors or windows open there is an expectation the police will investigate.

"It is right that we try and stop it but it is right that people take responsibility."

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A police spokesman said the force "has no plans to change the way things are investigated".

North West Leicestershire Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen said: "I would like to hope that the force are putting this out there as a way of reminding the public of the importance of not leaving doors or windows open.

"But it is their job to detect and investigate such crimes, not to penalise law-abiding citizens who may have made a mistake."

Mr Kay said he was not suggesting Leicestershire Police had any plans to change their practices, adding: "I pose that as a question."

Mr Garnier, a Tory MP who represents Harborough in Leicestershire, said the need to "bear down on persistent, dishonest criminality" was as important as the need to educate "foolish householders".