A former police officer-turned councillor has questioned why some residents reporting crime are only provided with a crime reference number.
John Coulson, who represents the Yarm ward on Stockton Council, asked Cleveland Police and Crime Commissioner Steve Turner at a meeting whether the force was categorising crime correctly and “deploying appropriate resources”.
He said: “To give an example, I quite often receive enquiries from residents complaining that [no-one] is dispatched to the scene of a crime and quite often they are only provided with a [crime] reference number for insurance purposes.”
Cleveland Police, which this week was removed from being subject to enhanced monitoring by the police inspectorate, was rated as ‘good’ earlier this year for the effectiveness and accuracy of its crime recording.
A His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services update also said the force had significantly invested in more detailed demand analysis, while a culture had been encouraged where senior leaders maintained an overview of demand and adjusted resourcing appropriately, which had not previously been seen.
PCC Mr Turner said: “We have some very experienced force incident managers in the control room who will ensure appropriate resources are dispatched.
“I have no doubt that as a councillor you will have residents – as I do – that say police don’t attend, no-one came out to my shed break-in etc.
“We go back round this topic quite a lot – Cleveland Police pretty much always have attended every crime where there is an opportunity to follow up with evidence [gathering].
“I would be confident in the scrutiny I have done that in terms of incidents where nobody attended, virtually all of those didn’t have an opportunity to follow up.”
Conservative Mr Turner said a resolution team at his office could independently re-open crime reports and look at the actions taken at the time if a member of the public remained unhappy, with a view to establishing whether the right decisions were made.
He said: “Residents may not always get the answer they are hoping for, but at least they know [matters] have been re-looked at and been reviewed by an independent person.”
Mr Turner added: “It does happen occasionally that there wasn’t a right decision.
“An officer can make a wrong judgement call – those things happen and you as a former officer will know that better than most.”
A Cleveland Police spokeswoman said: “Whilst some reports do require an immediate response by police, all incidents are assessed on risk and harm and some may not require immediate attendance, or attendance in person.
“In a recent audit, 98% of a dip sample of incidents were found to have been assessed effectively.
“Of those incidents where attendance is not deemed to be required in person, follow up enquiries are then carried out by officers in the force control room.
“Anyone who is dissatisfied with the police response can make a complaint, all these details are available on the force website.”