The Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) has insisted that officers do not pursue minor offences at the expense of serious crime.
Roger Baker, chief constable and Acpo lead on performance management, has said his organisation “totally rejects” any inference that the police are neglecting duties by chasing burglars instead of paedophiles, even despite the “inefficient, distracting” targets put upon them.
His comments come as a direct response to the Police Federation’s vice-chairman, Alan Gordon, who this week told ITV1’s Tonight with Trevor MacDonald that pressure to hit government targets was causing officers to investigate less serious crimes.
But Baker said: “The police service is, and will remain, focused on its core duty of public protection. Acpo totally rejects the inference that the police service is neglecting that duty by pursuing minor offences at the expense of serious crime. While there can be an element of distortion, the inference that people who are victims of serious crime are given less of a service is one we totally refute.”
However, the National Policy Improvement Agency (NPIA), set up six months ago to improve policing in England and Wales, have echoed the Police Federation’s concerns.
Peter Neyroud, NPIA chief executive, claimed that catching a murderer now carries no more importance than arresting someone for stealing a pint of milk, according to the Daily Telegraph.
During a speech at the Centre for Crime and Justice in King’s College London, he said: “There has been, in the minds of many professionals – me included – a neglect of the serious.
“Because detecting a stolen milk bottle counted the same as detecting a murder, you get your points from, not necessarily milk bottles, but certainly in mid-range, volume crime rather than serious crime.”