GETTING burgled – having the home where you once felt safe ransacked – is something you do not get over quickly.
I remember when it happened to me.
In the middle of the night I heard an intruder downstairs and made a whispered 999 call.
Then, after creeping halfway down the stairs, I saw a man, all in black, who had guided himself around my dining room using the light from my open fridge, and was scarpering with my laptop.
Within minutes the police and their dogs arrived.
Two caring officers had a cup of tea, reassured me it wasn’t personal because there was a spate of burglaries in the area, and filled me in on everything I needed to know about being a victim of burglary.
Weeks later they got in touch to say they had caught him.
It was such a relief because I’d been terrified he would return.
He knew the layout of my house and surely would have realised I’d have to replace my battered old laptop with a shiny new one.
I now know how lucky I was, because this was 20 years ago when police bothered to properly investigate burglaries.
But this week it was revealed that they don’t any more.
The latest Home Office figures show just 3.7 per cent of house burglaries result in a suspect being charged.
Three-quarters of burglaries are not even attended by police.
Since 2019, 46 per cent of areas have had all burglary cases marked as unsolved.
And without any CCTV or DNA, cases can often be closed within hours.
So burglars don’t need to be scared of cops.
They have absolutely zero deterrent and are laughing all the way to eBay.
In his first report since becoming the Chief Inspector of Constabulary, Andy Cooke admitted faith in the criminal justice system is collapsing as offenders are “rarely caught and punished”.
But why exactly aren’t PC Plod bothering to look after the poor old dears and terrified families who have had their homes raided?
It can’t be blamed on funding.
They got £17billion in government grants this year — the highest for more than a decade.
Staffing levels are rising and the Home Office has already recruited nearly 14,000 of a 20,000 target.
Cooke says it is partly down to a “very young” set of inexperienced officers, ex-plaining that 31 per cent have less than five years’ service.
You would think if you are a smart, keen bobby who always wanted to join the police you would get to know the basics fast. But apparently not.
Cooke admits officers are not doing those basics, such as gathering CCTV evidence, conducting house-to-house inquiries, giving crime prevention advice and keeping victims informed.
He said this is “not what the public expect and deserve”. Too right it isn’t.
As well as going back to basics the police need to prioritise.
In the past few months police have opened a “hate incident” file after a boy of 11 was called “shorty” in the street.
In another case, an antiques market trader from Essex was given a warning for selling a book about TV’s The Black And White Minstrel Show.
It makes you wonder how many ridiculous arrests are taking place while burglars live the high life.
Cooke has already put some forces in special measures, including The Met.
That force last year abandoned nearly 40 per cent of domestic burglary investigations within 24 hours.
He must continue to be the strong arm of the law and get forces to detect more crime and lock up more criminals.
If he doesn’t, burglars will continue to run rings around feckless young coppers who can’t do the basics.
Lightning still fits the bill as Gladiator
MOST women around the age of 50 are worrying about a bit of middle-aged spread.
But not former Gladiator Lightning, aka Kim Betts.
This week she put on the famous leotard she wore on the TV programme 30 years ago to show she is still in amazing condition thanks to her dedication to diet and fitness.
And if you scrutinise the photo – as I have – you will see that she is actually pulling at the costume to keep it tight around her waist – because it is now too BIG for her.
Let that be a lesson to us all. No pizza and wine for me tonight!
Cap’n easy on eye
WHAT on earth has happened to Captain Birdseye?
I remember him from the fish finger adverts when I was a kid and he was a cross between your grandad and Father Christmas.
But now there is a new Captain of the sea who has stripped off to promote their new swimwear range, and he is a delight.
He’s a hunk in trunks – all hairy chested, misty eyed and slightly sexy.
Or is that just a sign of my age?
THE boss of a haunted pub says his resident ghost pushed a pint glass off a table – and he has the video to prove it.
Scott Dawson says The Ring O’ Bells pub in Cumbria is very creepy and there are lots of strange goings on there.
That’s one way to put off punters!
Leave app in peace
I AM sure I am not the only one who is in loads of annoying WhatsApp groups.
I have been dragged into everything from childcare ones to local planning issues.
Every ping and emoji is grinding.
Well now there is good news for us all.
WhatsApp is changing the way you leave a group.
No longer will you have the shame of snubbing everyone.
You can just leave without them getting notified that you have departed.
I can’t wait to make some discreet exits.
Hats off to Zana
CONGRATULATIONS to House of Zana and its owner Amber Kotrri.
Multi-billion-pound company Zara sent in its heavyweight lawyers and told her, in no uncertain terms, to ditch the name of her boutique in Darlington, Co Durham, because it was confusing to its customers.
Really? House of Zana and Zara sound absolutely nothing like each other apart from a bit of a “Za”.
Many people would have been terrified by the international company and backed down but brave Amber stuck her boutique heels in and went to court.
She explained how she named her shop Zana because it means fairy in Albanian, where her husband is from.
The underdog won.
And while trying to protect its name Zara showed itself up as a big Spanish bully.
I hope House of Zana goes from strength to strength.
A fat lot of sense
THOMAS The Tank Engine fans at a visitor attraction near Winchester were warned not to refer to The Fat Controller as fat.
Apparently it is a “slur” and they were told to call him by his real name, Sir Topham Hatt.
A few weeks ago I went to a Day Out With Thomas on the East Lancashire Railway in Bury with my three-year-old.
One of the highlights was being met on the station by The Fat Controller.
He was very friendly, jolly and fat. Call a spade a spade.
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