Only a fifth of calls to police are reported as crimes

Just a fifth of incidents reported to Staffordshire Police last year were actually recorded as crimes, figures show.

Police officer's back credit PA

Bosses also said officers were not attending every crime scene, such as car thefts with no witnesses or nearby CCTV footage.

The latest figures show the force receives around 300,000 reported incidents a year – but in April 2011/12, only 68,160 were recorded as crimes. The number was down from 74,994 the previous year. Bosses say incidents involving “significant risk and threat of harm” are prioritised.

Supt Pete Owen, head of Staffordshire Police’s operational communication department, said the force was committed to responding to calls.

“A key part of this is identifying and addressing the needs of those who are the most vulnerable in our communities,” he said.

“Delivering an efficient and effective police service to the public means it is not always necessary or appropriate for officers to attend every call for service.

“For example, if someone is involved in a minor road traffic collision where no injury is suffered and both parties have exchanged details for insurance purposes, they contact us and we can give them advice about what they need to do over the phone.

“Another example could be someone reporting a stolen car from a local car park whilst out shopping.

“Unless they have witnessed something and can provide a statement, or there is CCTV coverage for them to help us with, information can be obtained over the phone so that officers can concentrate their time on investigating criminals believed to be involved in that type of crime.”

Police chiefs say figures show nearly nine out of 10 victims of anti-social behaviour and crime were satisfied with the overall level of service they received.

Supt Owen added: “While speaking to each caller, we do assess their needs and vulnerability.

“Where we identity vulnerability we will always send an officer or police community support officer to establish a fuller picture.”