Osaka Prefectural Police have neglected the investigation of 2,300 criminal cases, including 10 homicides, as a result of sloppy administrative procedures, a recently released probe reveals.
The probe reveals that over 8,000 pieces of evidence, including articles left at the crime scene and investigative documents related to all cases, have been stored without being processed to public prosecutors.
Ten of the 2,300 cases were homicides, while others included theft, fraud and robbery.
The probe was initiated after the discovery in 2012 that documents for an assault case had been improperly stored at the Habikino police station in Osaka, a case that at the time drew significant public and media criticism. As a result of public pressure, the prefectural police studied all police stations within Osaka, finding that evidence was improperly handled in 61 of all 65 police stations.
The investigation further reveals that the statute of limitations has expired for all the cases.
Among the crimes is the 1991 cold case of a woman who was murdered in her house in Izumisano, Osaka, in an apparent robbery-homicide, after police found that her bank book was missing from the crime scene. Though the case’s statute of limitations has already expired, procedures to complete the expiration had not been filed, Sankei Shimbun reports.
“Document filing and evidence processing was very poorly handled in the old days,” says Hiroshi Kadowaki, a former Osaka Police Department official. “Handover procedures were often neglected, leading to a situation when important evidence would simply get forgotten.”
Osaka Prefectural Police officials commented on the recent findings, saying that the department is taking steps to prevent a recurrence by enforcing double-checks and other policies.© JAPAN TODAY