INCREASING numbers of crimes in Wigan are being solved by defendants asking for them to be taken into consideration in court.
Figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show there were 298 crimes solved in this way in Wigan in 2010/11, a sharp rise from 220 the previous year but down on the 314 crimes taken into consideration (TIC) in 2008/09.
In total there were 5,451 crimes detected in the borough in 2010/11, giving a detection rate by TIC of 5.5 per cent, significantly below the national average across all UK police forces of around eight per cent.
TIC allows offenders to confess to committing crimes other than the one they are being charged with and appearing in court for, and means they will be looked on favourably for coming clean about offences they have committed.
It also means the police do not have to investigate these other offences, leading critics to suggest the increasing numbers of offences taken into consideration is a cynical ploy to improve crime detection statistics at a time of police budget cutbacks.
Greater Manchester Police defended its use of TIC, stressing the benefits to the community as well as confirming defendants can only admit to minor offences.
Supt Robert Lomas said: “The process of allowing defendants to ask a court to take further offences into consideration (TIC) can offer closure to victims of crime. When an offender admits to having committed an offence, the victim is no longer left with an unanswered question about who was responsible.
“They are also, more often than not, reassured that they were not specifically targeted. Defendants who have offences taken into consideration are typically serial offenders, who gave no regard to who they were committing an offence against. As such the practice tends to work most for offences which are carried out by repeat offenders, namely burglars. There are of course certain offences, such as serious assaults, which would never be subject of a TIC.
The most common TIC offence was attempted or actual burglary in a dwelling, with 68 crimes recorded, with 63 offences of theft of a motor vehicle and 58 crimes of theft from a vehicle.
TIC cases of attempted or actual burglary in a dwelling rose from 31 in 2009/10, an increase of more than 100 per cent.
By contrast, the number of crimes of burglaries in a building other than a dwelling fell sharply from 47, while the number of preserved or repealed fraud offences detected via TIC plummeted from 50 in 2008/09 to just six in 2010/11.
In order for a crime to count as TIC, the defendant must admit to the offences personally rather than through lawyers.