Beat managers not allowed to collate crime statistics

AXMINSTER police have been told not to present their own crime figures to town councillors.

AXMINSTER police have been told not to present their own crime figures to town councillors.

Neighbourhood beat manager Pc Darren Herridge revealed the instruction had come from Honiton Police Station when he addressed the February meeting of Axminster Town Council on Monday night.

Instead, local officers have been advised to use figures collated by analysts at the force headquarters in Exeter.

Pc Herridge said: "Due to the fact that the crime figures are collated differently by myself and the analyst in Middlemoor, it's caused problems when the figures are released on the force website.

"As a consequence, I have been told that, in future, I am not to release figures that I obtain from the system but use the figures that are released centrally.

"This isn't about figure juggling. It's just there are minor discrepancies between the dates of offences being committed, which has caused confusion."

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He said the move came following a parish council meeting in Hawkchurch, when there had been a difference between figures presented by the neighbourhood police officer and head office.

But the change was not readily welcomed by councillors, and it was questioned if analysts in Middlemoor were better equipped to collate figures in the area than beat officers.

Cllr John Jeffery told the Herald: "I don't like anything central.

"I don't believe what comes from central."

The figures on the Devon and Cornwall Police website for Axminster town were last updated in December.

Rather than individually listing crimes, the head office figures are put into five categories: burglary, robbery, vehicle crime, violence and anti-social behaviour.

Inspector Antonia Weeks, who is responsible for the rural East Devon area and is based in Honiton, said it was an internal matter and to make sure the figures were accurate.

She said: "There are various ways of accessing the information.

"We are looking for a standard way."

She said it was the job of the performance department at head office to collate figures, but that further research may have to be done at a parish level.

She explained head office figures were collated monthly, but these figures could not be accessed by the public.

She said: "The figures are available for officers to use as they see fit.

"We are trying to ensure the most accurate information is available.