Brit police chief criticised for sending officers to investigate crimes

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London, Sept 21 : Essex Chief Constable Roger Baker came under the criticism of Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (a department inspecting forces to drive improvements in policing) for sending officers to take statements from all reported crime victims.

Baker, who has won widespread support for his back-to-basics approach, had his method questioned if whether it was the best use of resources.

MPs and crime victims, who have seen a huge improvement through Baker's tactics, came to his rescue and rubbished the attack.

The police chief himself defended his own position, insisting it is about "giving the public the service they want".

"We promise to do business face-to-face wherever we can," the Daily Express quoted him as saying.

"The public are our biggest partner and we will continue to listen to them and work with them," he added.

When Baker took over in Essex in 2005, he caused people to sit up and take notice with his promise of a zero tolerance approach to all crime, and he also vowed to return to traditional policing methods.

Baker further warned in July that too many officers were being removed from the beat, and announced plans to recruit 600 more within five years.

With his new method the members of the public were assured that they would be able get through on the phone and know that an officer would turn up if they reported a crime.

In the last year alone, recorded crime in Essex has dropped by 13,000 offences.

But Baker's methods were put down by the HMIC, in an inspection report, as putting a strain on resources.

"While attending every crime is a highly effective method of engagement, it is felt by a number of staff that taking a statement at each crime is not always necessary and can be time-consuming," the report said.

Matthew Elliott, chief executive of the TaxPayers' Alliance, did not meet the HMIC's recommendations with favour.

"It's madness that quangos like this are laying into police forces for doing too much," he said.

"With fear of crime running high they should be concerned with why so many people feel let down by inadequate police cover, not criticising crime-fighting," he added.

Shadow Home Secretary Dominic Grieve was also in favour of Baker's methods.

"This is a damning indictment of the Government's centralising, target-driven approach to policing," Grieve said.

"It is essential to have officers where the public want them - on the streets, fighting crime," he added.

Tory MP for Billericay, John Baron, said a visit from the police was the least any tax-paying victim could expect.

"What else are we paying for? I hear too many complaints from constituents that they do not hear from police when reporting a crime," Baron added.

ANI

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