London, May 6 : Senior police officers in the UK say that car vandalism should not be considered to be a crime in case nothing is stolen from the vehicle.
A leaked memo sent by a Norwich-based inspector last month said that police officers were inadvertently inflating criminal damage figures to help people claim insurance.
It said that police constables assumed it too quickly that a crime had taken place, when someone reported car damage.
"We appear to be making things difficult for ourselves by 'criming' things that aren't crimes," British tabloid The Sun quoted the memo as saying.
"One example is where a car window is found damaged with no entry to the vehicle and no witness. This is recorded as criminal damage. But if there is no evidence of someone intending to destroy there is no crime. It's much easier not to put a crime on the system than to get it off," the memo said.
However, many see this edict as an attempt to reduce the number of reported crime.
"It's an outrageous attempt to massage crime figures and make things look rosier than they are," said one person.
"It's impossible for a car window to smash on its own yet it's being suggested that these things happen spontaneously. Imagine a member of the public's anger when a constable has to explain vandalism isn't criminal damage," the person added.
A Norfolk Police spokeswoman, on the other hand, said: "There is absolutely no advantage to try to make out there is more crime if there isn't."
Meanwhile, the Association of British Insurers has said that not recording criminal damage to cars would not invalidate policies.
"We need a return to common sense," North West Norfolk Tory MP Henry Bellingham said.