One of Britain’s most senior police officers suggested this week in an interview officers may not attend someone’s home anymore when they report a burglary.
Chief Constable Sara Thornton, head of the National Police Chiefs’ Council, said police might have to shift their focus away from more traditional crimes in the wake of cuts and staff losses.
“Crime is changing in this country. There are a lot less burglaries than there used to be and a lot less car crime,” she told BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme on Tuesday.
“The sorts of crimes that are on the increase – sexual offences, concerns about terrorism, cybercrime – that’s where we really need to focus. We need to move from reacting to those traditional crimes to thinking about focusing on threat and harm and risk and really protecting the public.”
When asked if Sussex Police would stop visiting burglary victims in the future, deputy chief constable Olivia Pinkney said: “We are aware of the debate around this. This area is still evolving under our local policing plan.
“Public safety is still our absolute priority. Sussex Police is a 24/7 emergency service which will always focus on the needs of those who are most vulnerable. As such we have protected our response teams so that you can be assured that in times of need we will be there.
“Key to our success in building our capability to detect and prevent crime is by working even closer with the community and partners.”
She went on to say ‘the community can be assured’ there would still be a presence in their areas.
“Our prevention, response and investigation teams will all be active within neighbourhoods across Sussex and there will be a named officer for every ward, local problem solving teams and partnership working.”
However, a national charity has hit out at the police’s attitude to burglaries, saying the impacts for victims could be ‘devastating and long-lasting’.
“Victims tell us that they suffer far more than lost possessions when their home is burgled; there can be a lasting effect on the whole family and victims often feel violated as their home is no longer a safe haven,” said Lucy Hastings, director at charity Victim Support.
“All victims need to have confidence that the crime will be thoroughly investigated and efforts made to catch the perpetrators and bring them to justice. They also need access to the practical help and emotional support they may need to cope and recover from crime.”
Victim Support teamed up with security firm ADT to survey 1,000 burglary victims, finding a quarter experienced mental health issues after a break-in, including increased anxiety or symptoms of depression.
A campaign is being run at www.victimsupport.org.uk/takenomore
DCC Pinkney added: “We have adapted to how people prefer to contact us and will be expanding opportunities for them to report crime and find out information online.”
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