Every person who’s been burgled knows it's deeper than simply having your TV or stereo taken.
It's about having the boundaries you set between you and the outside world broken and the things you consider to be personal, violated by a complete stranger.
It's at this point, when the place you should feel safe leaves you feeling vulnerable, where you expect your local police force to do their upmost to restore your feeling of safety and you trust them to investigate, catch the person responsible and have some form of justice served.
Sadly, most elements from that expected service after home burglaries have taken place have been severely lacking in recent years and this is consistent of police forces across the UK, and not just in here in Wiltshire and Swindon.
Residents tell me they want police officers to simply do the basics right: good, quality investigations which result in locking the bad people up, protect the vulnerable and care about victims.
That is why my police and crime plan deliberately ensures Wiltshire Police focus on providing a policing service which meets the needs of its communities and tackle those crimes that matter most to them – with burglary being one.
I would be blindly biased if I were to say Wiltshire Police were getting it right on every level when we know that simply isn’t the case – my eyes, and that of the Chief Constable are firmly open to that - but this week’s commitment from the force to visit the victim of every home burglary is a welcome step in the right direction.
The Force were already providing this is 88.7% of cases but have now committed to attending every time. These efforts should help to increase victim satisfaction and to preserve evidence sooner to support increased prosecutions.
Wiltshire Police’s home burglary further action taken figures, where a suspect is identified, charged or cautioned, is currently at 3.9% on a rolling 12 month average. This isn’t good enough and I have been clear in letting our Chief Constable know this – and he agrees.
The force is determined to improve these rates and by improving how officers deal with home burglary victims should not only increase those figures but also, and more importantly, will positively impact on the public’s confidence and trust in the policing service they receive.
I will be directly scrutinising this commitment from the Force and challenging them to show that effective, quality, investigations are taking place while closely monitoring this commitment on behalf of residents to ensure it is delivered.
And I have also senior officers to explore if it is operationally possible to extend this commitment to include all non-dwelling burglaries, like rural outbuildings and sheds. As ever, this will be a delicate balance but aiming to provide the policing service our communities want is vital.