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Last Updated: Wednesday, 22 September, 2004, 15:40 GMT 16:40 UK
Crime detection figures on slide
Police on the  beat
Two thirds of officers' time is said to be spent on the front line
The proportion of crimes solved by police in England and Wales fell last year, according to figures released by the Home Office.

The overall detection rate dropped 0.3% to 18.8%, with the Metropolitan Police showing the lowest rate, followed by Humberside then Cambridgeshire police.

Just more than 63% of officers' time was spent on frontline duties, the figures revealed.

But the Home Office said that this included some paperwork.

'Spin'

Shadow home secretary David Davis said officers actually spent around half their time on the frontline.

He said: "No amount of Home Office spin can cover up these statistics.

"Two years after David Blunkett promised to free police from the burden of paperwork, nothing has changed.

"Only by putting more police on the street, and reducing police paperwork, can we make our streets safer."

'Encouraging'

Home Office minister Hazel Blears said: "The overall picture of policing performance that emerges is encouraging.

"Crime and the fear of crime are both down and the number of offences brought to justice has gone up.

"The reports also identify areas for improvement, most notably in the levels of detection."

The Police Performance Monitoring report for 2003/04, shows nearly 48% of people believe the police do an excellent or good job.

It also reveals efforts to curb the fear of crime appear to be working.

Nationally, the percentage of people very worried about burglary dropped to 13% from last year's figure of 15% and those highly worried about car crime from 17% to 15%.

People highly worried about violence and those who perceived levels of disorder to be high both fell from 21% to 16%.

'Critical'

The number of burglaries per 1,000 households dropped from 19.8% to 18.2%; vehicle crime from 18.6% to 16.0% and robberies from 2.1% to 1.9%.

And the number of offences brought to justice was 18.7% compared to 18.2%.

Of the class A drug offences brought to justice for every 10,000 people, the figure rose from 2% to 2.4%.

Brought to justice means securing a conviction, caution or getting an offence taken into consideration.

Sickness rates for officers dropped from 10.4 days off to 9.6%.

Forces with the best detection rates included Dyfed-Powys with 36.6%; Gwent with 30.2%; City of London with 29.7% and Northumbria with 26.4%.

Baroness Ruth Henig, chairman of the Association of Police Authorities, said: "This is the third year the performance monitors have been published.

"It is pleasing to have performance information that covers a wide range of policing activity and not just an indication of an increase or decrease in crime.

"However, the monitors do not indicate how well each force is performing against its local priorities, which is critical information for local communities."

How Your Police Force Performed
Comparisons with most similar forces (Home Office scale)
Police Force Public perception Reducing crime Investigating crime Time on frontline duties
Avon & Somerset -7 -28 -10 -2
Bedfordshire +3 -21 -9 +9
Cambridgeshire Level -3 -1 +4
Cheshire -7 +2 -7 +3
Cleveland -6 -8 -6 -10
Cumbria +10 +29 +25 +1
Derbyshire -4 -20 -2 +3
Devon & Cornwall +15 +27 Level +2
Dorset +9 -4 -6 +8
Durham +12 +48 +6 -3
Dyfed-Powys +5 +117 +77 +4
Essex -1 +13 -14 -7
Gloucestershire +1 -20 +9 -1
Greater Manchester -2 -14 -19 +4
Gwent -3 +6 +32 -14
Hampshire +9 +38 +7 +1
Hertfordshire +14 +2 +3 -5
Humberside -12 -29 -27 +5
Kent -1 +19 +18 +5
Lancashire -7 +28 +15 +2
Leicestershire +9 +3 +14 Level
Lincolnshire -7 +8 -3 -5
Merseyside -5 +20 +25 -9
Met Police +1 +4 -23 +2
Norfolk -5 +16 -2 -7
North Wales -7 -1 -5 -8
North Yorks -8 -18 -4 +3
Northamptonshire -14 -34 -6 +4
Northumbria +18 +70 +31 -6
Nottinghamshire -5 -29 -9 -4
South Wales +11 +6 +18 -3
South Yorkshire -10 +6 +1 -1
Staffordshire -4 +6 +12 -10
Suffolk -3 +35 +12 Level
Surrey +6 +29 -8 +2
Sussex -16 +6 +2 -1
Thames Valley +4 -17 -11 +2
Warwickshire -9 -10 -5 +3
West Mercia +3 +5 +2 +2
West Midlands -3 -1 +16 -1
West Yorkshire +4 -16 -24 +8
Wiltshire +14 +34 +21 -5
Source: Home Office

Note: Public perception - Residents thinking police do an excellent or good job.
City of London data omitted because no comparable force.




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The BBC's Kevin Bocquet
"Senior officers have to account for everything in their areas"



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Police station closures attacked
09 Aug 04  |  Politics
Losing the police station
10 Aug 04  |  UK


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