According to shocking figures, only 2% of car thefts result in a suspect being charged.
Analysis reveals that more than 70% of thefts go unsolved in communities across England and Wales.
Last night MPs said data from the Commons Library left them wondering whether car theft had been ‘decriminalised’. It sparked accusations that police are spending too much time promoting ‘woke’ causes and policing internet commentary rather than tackling street-level crime.
Analysis shows that of more than 97,000 car thefts in the first nine months of last year – the latest data available – just over 2% (2,220) resulted in the charge of thugs.
Up to a further 27% faced penalties such as warnings, which are considered milder sentences because they do not involve a court appearance or jail time.
Just 2% of car thefts result in a suspect being charged, according to shocking figures (pictured)
Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey (pictured) said: ‘These shocking figures will leave people wondering whether car theft has been decriminalised.
But no suspects were identified in 68,800 cases, meaning 71% of car thefts went unsolved in England and Wales between January 1 and September 30 last year.
The most stolen cars of 2022 REVEALED
Britain’s most owned car is also the most stolen, with Ford Fiesta thefts increasing by 53% in 2022.
Figures from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) show 5,979 Fiestas were reported stolen last year, up from 3,909 in 2021. This means a criminal got away with one every 88 minutes in mean.
The figures also suggest thieves continue to target high-value motors, with Range Rovers second in the order of vehicles stolen by volume last year.
In fact, there was a 47% increase in the number of expensive SUVs illegally taken from their rightful owners in 2022 compared to the previous year, while Land Rover Discovery thefts also increased by more than half.
Learn more: See the full list of the 10 most stolen cars of the last year
The research, commissioned by the Liberal Democrats, provides one of the most detailed pictures to date of how police are dealing with the scourge of car theft, as the figures include all 43 forces in England and Wales as well as the British Transport Police.
Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey said: ‘These shocking figures will leave people wondering whether car theft has been decriminalised. It is an outrageous failure.
“The Minister of the Interior sleeps at the wheel. People wake up to find their car is gone and the police are too overwhelmed to catch the criminal.
“These thieves, who have brought misery to communities across the country, must be stopped and punished.
“We need more brass on the beat to put down these unsolved crimes.
“Instead, the government has reduced the number of community officers, which only benefits criminals.”
Tory MP Peter Bone said: ‘What people want to see is the police investigating crimes such as burglary, car theft and vandalism.
“They are not interested in the so-called awake concerns and investigations that some forces seem to be carrying out.”
The worst performing police forces in the first three quarters of last year were Essex, South Yorkshire and the West Midlands.
In the West Midlands, 10,784 car thefts were recorded, but no suspects were identified for 8,787 of them, 81% of which remained unsolved. Only 1% resulted in the indictment of a suspect.
In South Yorkshire, 3,858 have been registered but no suspects have been identified for 3,138, of which 81% are unsolved.
Mr Davey accused Home Secretary Suella Braverman (pictured) of being ‘asleep at the wheel’
In Essex, 3,746 car thefts were recorded but no suspects were identified for 3,025, meaning 81% were unsolved.
Only 2% resulted in the indictment of a suspect. The top performing force was police in Devon and Cornwall, where only 13% of car thefts went unsolved. But only 5% of the suspects have been charged.
A rise in car theft, particularly in the suburbs, has also been fueled by the shift to keyless vehicles.
The gangs use relatively inexpensive equipment to redirect signals from key fobs inside motorists’ homes to cars, unlocking doors.
Separate figures show that police forces failed to solve a single burglary in almost half of the country’s neighborhoods over a three-year period.
This follows a series of incidents which have seen police criticized for taking on ‘woke’ causes.
A Home Office spokesman said: ‘Vehicle crime has fallen by 18% since December 2019, but we are determined to bring it down further.
“We are supporting the police by funding crime prevention measures including better street lighting and CCTV, providing 20,000 more officers and equipping the police with better technology to help catch more criminals.”
Some links in this article may be affiliate links. If you click on it, we may earn a small commission. This helps us fund This Is Money and keep it free to use. We do not write articles to promote products. We do not allow any business relationship to affect our editorial independence.