Police focus on preventing crime

Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Billings
Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Billings
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Police are spending just a third of their time fighting crime as they focus more on preventing it.

Alan Billings, Police and Crime Commissioner, says there needs to be honesty about the way policing is changing. He says it’s no longer just about ‘catching the bad guys’ as the police have as much a responsibility to stop crime happening in the first place.

Just 36 per cent of police time is spent on fighting crime, with 64 percent spent on public safety, prevention and protection.

Mr Billings stressed that “traditional” crimes are still important as police recognise that the harm caused by low level crimes can have the most impact on victims and have long reaching effects.

He said victims should always be the priority: “Some crimes will always be heinous, and will of course have horrific impacts upon victims and their families for many years but others such as burglary are no less impactful.

“Police response to burglary has been a hot topic in the press for a number of years, as forces seek new ways of responding in order to maximise efficiency and effectiveness. They may decide that matters can be best progressed by telephone rather than a visit.

“However, in reaching for new ways of working, they must never forget the impact on the victim of any crime. The first initial contact with the emergency services can shape a victim’s experience of their journey through the criminal justice system, and help or hinder their recovery.

“People react to a situation in their own unique way. Each victim should be treated as an individual.”

Detective Chief Inspector Paul Wilson, who is crime manager at the Doncaster Command Team, agrees that the focus has changed.

He said: “I’ve been in the Force 27 years and in the past it was about arrests and putting people in cells, we focused on charging people and putting them through the justice system.

“Now though we work extensively with other agencies. For example, if someone turns up at hospital with a minor stab wound but doesn’t want to engage with police we can work with other agencies such as social services and mental health teams.

“While fighting crime is still very important, we also want to focus on crime prevention and education and we work in partnership with a host of services including local authorities, the NHS, social services and youth services.”