[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Thursday, 15 March 2007, 20:28 GMT
Ex-policeman lifts lid on figures
Johnno Hills
Johnno Mills is formally suspended until he leaves Sussex Police
A former Sussex detective has said he sacrificed his career to lift the lid on the pressure police are under to massage their crime detection figures.

Johnno Hills, 34, a police officer for four years, said the Home Office target and detection-driven culture was influencing the way officers worked.

"Officers are attending jobs thinking 'What can I get out of this to make it look as if I am productive'," he said.

The Home Office said it was committed to delivering fewer targets for police.

Mr Hills has handed his resignation to Sussex Police and is now formally suspended from the force until his official leaving date in a few weeks.

It was an opportunity for me to record two common assaults to get another tick in the box
Johnno Hills

He said he joined the police to fight crime but became disillusioned and felt he had to resign as a matter of principle so he could speak out.

"I have been in a situation where I attended an incident of common assault - two men were embroiled in fisticuffs," he said.

"I was given a clear indication of who had started it.

"However, I was told that because both men were fighting each other it was an opportunity for me to record two common assaults to get another tick in the box."

Another example involved a colleague who went to a flat where a drug dealer had died.

"There was a quantity of cannabis on his bedside table. That cannabis was seized on the recommendation of the supervisor in order for it to be detected."

Sussex Police said it had not forced Mr Hills to resign but it was a matter of policing principle that a serving officer had to maintain political neutrality.

A Home Office spokesman said: "We don't reward number-chasing for its own sake.

"We have already delivered real improvements in our efforts to reduce bureaucracy.

"However, we acknowledge there is more to do and we are committed to improving performance mechanisms."

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific