In the UK, we are accustomed to being able to call the police if a break-in occurs and have an officer come round to help begin an investigation. However, due to the changing nature of policing this may not be the case anymore, according to the head of the National Police Chiefs' Council (NPCC) Sara Thornton.
Talking to the BBC's Victoria Derbyshire, Ms Thornton said "there are a lot less burglaries than there used to be” and also “a lot less car crime”. However, Miss Derbyshire stated that there is increasing concern surrounding sexual offences, terrorism and cybercrime, commenting that this is where the police “really need to focus”.
Miss Thornton went on to explain that investing time and resources into high-priority crime would mean changing the way the police respond to domestic burglaries. In situations where the criminal has already fled the scene of the crime, she stated that the police would “not get there as quickly as we have in the past”. However, Miss Thornton emphasised “we will still want to gather evidence, but we might do it in different ways”.
Admittedly this is all hypothetical, with Ms Thornton saying it "could be" the case, but it paints a worrying picture. The causes of this change in priorities for the police are thought to stem from budget cuts and a shrinking number of officers, meaning not every crime can be dealt with the same amount of urgency.
So what does this mean if you're a concerned homeowner who wants to make sure their home and family are protected? First of all, a key part of Ms Thornton's statement was that police won't necessarily come once a burglar has broken in then fled the scene. However, you will almost certainly get an immediate police response if the criminal is caught in the act.
This is very similar to the current priorities in home security. Rather than a simple burglar alarm, technology such as motion detectors and 'smart' CCTV cameras can identify when there is an intruder in your home and send an alert to both your smartphone and to a remote monitoring centre, such as SECOM's 24-hour Alarm Receiving Centre.
From there, the police can immediately be called, ensuring a speedy response in an emergency. This type of crime prevention is much more effective than simply calling the police. If the NPCC is correct and officers are no longer going to come out to burglaries then it has never been more important to invest in a good security system.