Dire clear-up rates for burglary, theft and robbery are “unacceptable and unsustainable”, says a damning report by the police watchdog.

It revealed that barely a quarter of police call handlers told victims how to preserve evidence and less than a third of investigators offered crime prevention advice that could stop them being targeted again.

Inexperienced and poorly supervised detectives were also contributing to the escalating problem, said the report.

And police failure to solve the vast majority of such high-volume crimes made the public feel unsafe, said HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary Andy Cooke.

Less than 7% of domestic burglaries end in the offender being charged, while for theft it’s 4% and only one percent for car theft, according to Home Office figures.

Mr Cooke said: “Burglary, robbery and theft are not minor crimes. They are crimes that strike at the heart of how safe people feel in their own homes or communities.

“The current low charge rates for these crimes are unacceptable and unsustainable – there needs to be a concerted drive to address this issue because it directly affects the public’s confidence in the police’s ability to keep them safe.

“In order for people to have confidence and trust in policing, they need to see visible action in their own communities. They need to see the police actively engaging and also actively investigating offences that matter to them on a daily basis.”

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In the wake of the published Home Office clear-up rates in December, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) analysed 420 reports on domestic burglary, personal theft, and theft of and from vehicles – what it calls serious acquisitive crime (SAC) – to see what was going wrong.

It found that many police forces lacked the capacity to properly record, investigate and manage SAC, didn’t recognise the impact of such crimes and nearly half of them weren’t abiding by the code of practice for dealing with victims.

Mr Cooke said: “If I was burgled, I would fully expect to see a police officer there not because of what I do, but as as a member of the public. I would want that reassurance.

“I would want someone who understood how to gather forensic yield and would want to be kept updated in relation to the conduct of that case. I don’t think that’s too much to ask for for our communities.

“But sometimes, sadly, that is not the response that we’re getting, which is why the police need to consistently improve the way we deal with these offences.”

The HMICFRS set all forces in England and Wales two targets to hit by March next year: to bring crime scene management up to authorised professional standards and make sure investigations are properly supervised.