NEARLY 30,000 crimes went unsolved in Bolton last year, the highest number of any borough in the city-region except for Manchester itself.

Only 5.27% of the 33,876 crimes committed in the borough in 2017 were solved, meaning that in most cases, no one was caught and punished.

This is one of the lowest rates for any borough in Greater Manchester, after only Manchester and Stockport.

The new figures come from a recent investigation by The Sunday Times into unsolved crime in England and Wales.

Nine Greater Manchester boroughs fall below the national average, with only Trafford hitting the 9.1% mark.

In Bolton last year, 3,873 crimes were recorded in the town centre, with an average of 322 crimes recorded in the area each month.

In the neighbouring boroughs of Wigan and Salford, the rate of solved crimes is also below 6%, whilst in Bury, 6.81% of crimes were solved.

Greater Manchester Police (GMP) Chief Superintendent Stuart Ellison said: "It is important to remember that we are seeing increases in crime nationally – which in some cases is due to improved compliance with national crime recording standards.”

4.7m crimes were committed last year in England and Wales, but fewer than one in 10 offences lead to someone being charged or sent a court summons.

But the proportion of suspects caught and punished for all crimes has more than halved over the past five years to just 9%, down from 19% in 2013.

Meanwhile, fewer than 3% of burglaries and 4% of robberies were solved in England and Wales, half as many that were solved in 2013.

Today, the number of officers in England and Wales are at the lowest level since the late 1980s.

Chief Superintendent Stuart Ellison said: "With a reduction of police numbers by 2,000 across Greater Manchester, the force has to prioritise and assess all crimes based on the threat, harm and risk presented with each investigation, while ensuring that we are safeguarding our most vulnerable members of society.”

Between 2010 and 2016, the number of GMP officers fell by 23% whilst the number of PSCOs fell by 11% according to Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HIMC).

In the 12 months to the end of June 2017, GMP recorded 294,581 crimes, an increase of 31% on the previous year.

GMP receives the second highest number of 999 calls, relative to population.

Chief Superintendent Stuart Ellison added: “With increases in online crime as well as offences such as child sexual exploitation and modern slavery, we have to make tough decisions on where to allocate resources.

“Our priority will always be protecting those living in our communities and doing our utmost to bring offenders to justice.

“We will continue to work hard to understand crime trends and to evolve practices across Greater Manchester to keep people safe.”