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Cops choose own crime targets

PUBLISHED: 23:30 22 May 2003 | UPDATED: 13:54 03 March 2010

GOVERNMENT expectations have proved too much for Suffolk Police - who have set their own crime-fighting targets after failing to meet national standards.

GOVERNMENT expectations have proved too much for Suffolk Police – who have set their own crime-fighting targets after failing to meet national standards.

And the Evening Star can today reveal that for some types of crime, the county force is only challenging itself to meet the level it has already achieved, years ago.

The controversial targets, discussed at a police authority best value committee meeting, are part of the force's draft plan for the coming year, which aims to make Suffolk the safest county in England and Wales by April 2006.

They are also designed to ensure that Suffolk residents do not fear crime unnecessarily.

But during 2002/2003 there were 2,284 domestic burglaries compared with a target of 2,242 or less – representing a 6.6 per cent decline on the previous year.

Now police say they will not be able to achieve the figure of 1,848 needed to meet the government's national target of reducing the number of burglaries by 25pc from 1998/9 to 2005.

Instead they will only try to match their previous lowest burglary rate of 2,198 – achieved in 2000/2001.

Then in 2004/05 Suffolk will aim to see 2,154 burglaries.

Chief constable Alastair McWhirter said: "The authority has previously considered this (national) target to be unachievable given that Suffolk already has the second lowest burglary rate in the country (based on 2001.2002 figures).

"Any further significant improvement would require a disproportionate use of resources that would seriously affect performance in other activities.

"If the target for 2005 is met it will represent a decrease of around 12.5pc based on 1998/1999.

"When the growth in dwellings in Suffolk is taken into account this represents a 'real' decrease of around 20pc over this time.

"This is felt to be a significant contribution to the national target, especially from a county with a low number of burglaries."

In other areas – including criminal damage detection rates, disorder, answering 999 calls in time, public satisfaction about 999 calls, and stop and search rates for ethnic minorities – the authority failed to meet targets in 2002/2003.

The failure to meet the required standards comes despite the fact that in some areas – including burglaries - the detection of vehicle crime and stop/search rates Suffolk Police performed well compared favourably to others.

nDo you think these targets are challenging enough?

Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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