A leading officer has reassured residents and councillors in the Derbyshire Dales who feel “isolated” that officers are “not retreating from the rural community”.
Speaking to Derbyshire Dales District Council, Detective Chief Inspector Greg McGill, also hit back at claims that police in the Dales had not solved any burglaries last year.
He said that the claim that the Derbyshire Dales had witnessed 355 burglaries last year – with not one solved – were as a result of mistaken statistics which “do not show the full picture”.
The figures for 2017 showed 332 burglaries were classed as “unsolved” with 11 cases pending and 12 whose outcomes are “unknown”.
DCI McGill said: “The shift in figures is largely as a result of shed and dwelling break-ins being lumped together.
“We actually had 13 fewer burglaries last year than the year before, which is bucking the national trend.
“With statistics you often do not get the full picture. In many cases we have caught the people responsible for these burglaries but may not have linked them directly to each of the break-ins – so we are catching these people but that doesn’t necessarily mean that these burglaries are ‘solved’.
“We focus on catching burglars rather than processing crimes – and detection rates for burglars are low.
“Derbyshire Dales is safe and has low crime numbers.
“Because of this it often skews the statistics. If you have more criminals you have more of a chance of catching some, but if you don’t have as many in the first place, it becomes harder.”
District councillor Richard Bright, Conservative, said: “People have stopped reporting crimes to the police, they just don’t think anything will come of it.
“I have a neighbour who had £1,000 worth of goods stolen from his fridge and they didn’t report that because they didn’t see the point.”
In response to this, DCI McGill said that members of the public should report crimes.
He said: “Even if we don’t catch the suspect you have helped broaden the intelligence at our disposal, you are helping us out.
“I understand the problems faced by people on the phones when there is a long wait but we have to find innovative ways to tackle crime.
“For every domestic burglary, a police officer will attend and they will assess whether to call for forensics – our officers know what they are looking for and it will be clear.
“Just to confirm, for every house burglary, you will get a police officer at your door.
“I do feel I’ve got to give the victim something, that is the draw for me, I want people to know that we are out in the community and we are looking into it.
“These people have the audacity to break into someone’s house, and they are a small percentage, and we realise that even if someone isn’t home when their house is robbed that it isn’t a victimless crime.”
Vice chairman of the council, Conservative councillor Jean Monks, asked “what are you doing for the rural community, we are feeling very isolated”.
DCI McGill answered: “We are not retreating from the rural community.
“You have your rural crime unit here in Matlock and I do understand that in a city you are more likely to see police officers or security guards.
“But we are not retreating, we are being more innovative and we do need to think about how we do that more.”