POLICE Scotland will no longer investigate every crime after the success of a pilot in the north east.

The pilot scheme, announced in September 2023, saw officers no longer take action on some minor crimes in order to focus more on emergency response and public safety.

On Thursday, an evaluation of the “Proportionate Response to Crime” scheme was published, recommending that the methodology be rolled out across all of Scotland.

Police said that during the 12-week trial, five per cent of crimes reported in A Division (Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire and Moray) were filed for no further enquiry, freeing up 2657 police officer hours.

Examples of crimes that were listed for no further inquiry included:

  • A caller whose car’s bumper was damaged in a car park, with no CCTV present or note left.
  • A caller who returned home after four weeks away to find two garden ornaments missing, with no CCTV or witnesses.
  • A caller who had delivery of a parcel confirmed, only for it to be missing when they returned home, with no CCTV or witnesses.
  • A caller who left their bag unattended in a park, and realised their phone was missing when they got home.

The decision not to take action on a particular crime report came after “an assessment of threat, harm, risk, vulnerability, and for proportionate lines of investigation and evidence”, police said.

Police said that people who report crimes will now be told that there is no hope of an investigation “more quickly” than they previously would have been.

The force also reported that, since the introduction of the process in the north east, public satisfaction rates have improved while more people who contact the police also said they got an appropriate response.

Prior to the pilot, 72 per cent of A Division officers reported they would regularly be allocated crime reports where no proportionate lines of enquiry existed.

At the conclusion of the pilot, 68 per cent of them said they had noticed a positive difference to their workload, and 56 per cent felt they had more time to investigate crime reports which had proportionate lines of enquiry.

Assistant Chief Constable Emma Bond said: “The Proportionate Response to Crime process is not a policy of non-investigation – we are committed to investigating crime.

“Taking a proportionate response to crime is not a new concept but we’ve never had a national process or standard across Scotland.

“Our evaluation recommends this process is rolled out across the rest of the service and we intend to do this on a phased basis with ongoing engagement and evaluation.

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“Every crime report is subject of individual assessment of threat, harm, risk, vulnerability and for proportionate lines of investigation and evidence, and that won't change.

“If there are no lines of enquiry that can be pursued, then we should be clear about that with the person who has contacted us. The public will be informed about the progress of their report more quickly, rather than waiting days for officers to make contact to inform them of the same outcome.

“By taking a proportionate response to crime reporting, we can give officers more time to focus on local policing, keeping people safe from harm, protecting the vulnerable, bringing criminals to justice, solving problems, and reducing offending.

“Please continue to report crime to us. All reports are recorded and - even if they are closed - are passed to our local policing teams to be kept under review and to help build an intelligence picture enabling them to proactively respond to local concerns.

“We have listened carefully to feedback about the process during the pilot period and we’re using this important information to further shape the process and engage with partner organisations.”