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Police: Households must take responsibility for home security

Police in Greater Manchester will tell insurers if households that have been burgled failed to adequately secure their property with home security.

According to Chief Inspector Steve McFarlane, the number of burglaries in the Tameside area has come down in the last few years.

However, he said many homes are still being targeted because occupants are failing to take basic security measures such as locking windows and doors.

One in three break-ins in Tameside are classed as insecure burglaries, so Greater Manchester Police is planning to tackle this problem by telling insurance companies when this is the case.

This could potentially lead to cover providers determining that a policyholder was negligent and therefore deciding not to issue a payout.

Speaking to the Manchester Evening News, Chief Inspector McFarlane said: “It’s quite rare that [insurance companies] ring us – usually the crime reference number is evidence that a crime has occurred and it’s taken on face value.”

He noted that insecure burglaries are similar to those situations when drivers leave their keys in the car while it is defrosting on a cold morning and a thief makes off with the vehicle.

However, Chief Inspector McFarlane pointed out that a motorist will not receive a payout if this occurs and said the same needs to happen with households that fail to take adequate security measures.

“What’s the difference between leaving your engine running on the drive to leaving your door unlocked,” he observed.

Chief Inspector McFarlane has acknowledged that the police sharing details of a burglary case with insurers is likely to prove unpopular. Nevertheless, he hopes it will encourage people to take responsibility for their actions when it comes to home security.

He noted that the police has aimed to raise awareness of the issue by running various media campaigns and issuing leaflets with home security advice to local people, but said it is down to them to respond.

“You can tell people but whether they act on it is a different matter,” Chief Inspector McFarlane added.

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