Unsolved crimes in Hackney are high and rising

Hackney is the sixth worst borough in London for unsolved and undetected crimes, according to new figures.

Unsolved Crimes in Hackney broken down by type. Source Metropolitan Police FOI
Unsolved Crimes in Hackney broken down by type. Source Metropolitan Police FOI

The information, obtained by a Freedom of Information request sent to the Metropolitan Police, shows that over 25,000 offences were recorded as either undetected or unsolved in Hackney in 2016/17. This is higher than the 21,700 offences recorded in 2012/13.

Hackney’s number of unsolved offences has risen by 24% in the last two years. Unsolved harassment offences have more than doubled since 2012/13 from 1,164 to 2,422, while unsolved rapes have also doubled.

There is one unsolved crime in Hackney for every 10.9 citizens.

A Metropolitan Police spokesperson said in a statement: “Solving crime is a key priority for the Met and we are committed to doing all we can to cut crime, pursue offenders and support victims to make London even safer.

“In recent years the MPS has managed to maintain officer numbers above 30,000 despite making savings of £600m. The crime picture has evolved and so must we in the way we police, recruit and operate. We are managing an increased demand across areas as a result of societal changes such as child protection, mental health and missing people,” the Met spokesperson added.

Unsolved crimes in Hackney are on the rise
Unsolved crimes in Hackney are on the rise

Westminster is the worst borough for unsolved and undetected crimes with over 43,500 in 2016/17, followed by Southwark, Newham, Lambeth and neighbouring Camden.

The figures show that all London boroughs have seen an increase in the number of unsolved and undetected crimes over the last four years. Many boroughs also have higher numbers compared to five years ago.

In 2012/13 the number of unsolved crimes initially went down, before subsequently increasing.

At the same time, the Metropolitan Police have suffered budget cuts and a fall in police officer numbers. Since 2010, Hackney has lost one in four police officers. To save money, forces in Hackney and Tower Hamlets are merging into one Basic Command Unit (BCU). The measure is expected to save £325m.

Responding to the figures, Patrick Green of the Ben Kinsella Trust, an anti-knife crime charity, said police cuts had contributed to a rise in knife crime.

“Hackney Council aims to support the police in Hackney as much as possible to enable them to investigate and solve crime.

For example, in the last year we have increased the number of Council enforcement officers from 15 to 24, and we also run a 24-hour CCTV surveillance room, staffed by trained CCTV operatives, who support the police in solving crime.”

Caroline Selman (Cllr)

“You need police officers to address crime,” Green said. “We had falling police numbers and rising crime, so we’re asking fewer police officers to solve more crimes which just doesn’t make any sense.”

But Green also believes that cuts in youth services have contributed to the rise in crime. “Knife crime and violent crimes were falling back in 2011. You go through a list of factors and there’s two principal differences between then and now. One is that there are fewer police officers on the streets and the second one is that youth services have been cut. Over £300m in youth services have disappeared since 2011.”

He believes that this double whammy of youth service cuts and police cuts must be reversed to combat the rise in knife and violent crime. “Youth clubs and community centres are needed to give some young people positive role models whether that is sports or arts clubs. If you take a large chunk of that away and have less police officers, crime will rise.”