Page last updated at 10:24 GMT, Tuesday, 4 August 2009 11:24 UK

Force defends serious crime cover

Police chiefs in Cumbria have defended the way officers deal with serious crimes in the wake of a critical report from a watchdog.

Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) said Cumbria Police had let down victims of serious crimes.

The force, along with three others, was found to be lacking in specialist skills needed to manage murders, sexual assaults, and other serious offences.

But it said improvements in training and computer systems were now in place.

Officials inspected all 43 forces in England and Wales between July and September last year.

'Significant investment'

Cumbria's assistant chief constable Michelle Skeer said the county had "very low levels" of major crime.

But she said HMIC recommendations on training and better computer systems had been taken on board.

She added: "I am confident that we are very capable and have some very professional and highly skilled staff that can deal with major crime.

"The report was written in July 2008 from information in December 2007 and since that time we have put significant investment into dealing with major crime.

"Cumbria has very low levels of major crime and is a very safe place to live. But when a serious crime does occur we investigate it professionally and thoroughly."

Ms Skeer said the latest crime figures for the county, released by the force in July, showed a downward trend in the number of reported incidents.

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Police forces 'let down victims'
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