Commissioner says town police ‘unacceptable’

Tim Passmore who is the new Police Commissioner for Suffolk
Tim Passmore who is the new Police Commissioner for Suffolk

Police performance in Brandon has been branded ‘unacceptable’ after figures revealed arrest rates were well below county targets.

Figures uncovered by the Bury Free Press via a Freedom of Information request show that the town’s force is making arrests in fewer than ten per cent of cases - with a target of 30 per cent.

Tim Passmore, Suffolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner, said the numbers were ‘not acceptable’ and pledged to improve performance.

“We need to make sure that we inspire the confidence in people to report crime and it’s part of our long term planning to redress the imbalance in the west of the county,” he said.

The figures show that of 1,995 offences of arson, burglary, criminal damage, other theft and vehicle crime committed from 2008 to 2012, only 197 have led to arrests - or 9.8 per cent.

In 2011 alone, just 16 arrests were made from 372 offences - an arrest rate of 4.3 per cent.

Mr Passmore said he was being told by officers that solving crimes in Brandon was challenging due to its location and a lack of manpower - but insisted the town was not a ‘soft touch’.

Inspector Matt Rose, local policing commander for Forest Heath, said the force was working hard to keep Brandon safe.

“While the solved rate for these offences in Brandon is below the constabulary averages, the town and the Forest Heath area remains a safe place to live.

“We are working hard with our partners to reduce and detect crime and anti-social behaviour and as a result crime in Brandon is currently down against the three-year average, with almost 200 fewer crimes being committed,” he said.

Bill Bishop, Suffolk county councillor for Brandon, said a lack of senior officers was hitting the town.

“I think we are just short of manpower and there don’t ever seem to be any officers in Brandon.

“There’s always been a police presence in Brandon - we used to have officers here seven days a week - but now it seems people have to come over from Mildenhall and Newmarket when there’s a call,” he said.