One in five crimes solved - but 83 per cent of victims are happy with police

PUBLISHED: 11:40 04 January 2016

Sergeant Andy Squires is now splitting his time between Sidmouth and Seaton. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref shs 6983-28-13AW

Sergeant Andy Squires is now splitting his time between Sidmouth and Seaton. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref shs 6983-28-13AW

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Figures for 2015 have revealed that only one in every five crimes in Sidmouth goes on to be solved - but 'customer satisfaction' levels are on the rise, according to the town's police sergeant.

Sidmouth’s neighbourhood team has logged 398 crimes from January 1 to December 29, 2015, with incidents including drugs offences, burglary, criminal damage and shoplifting.

In the whole of 2014, 437 crimes were logged, showing an 8.9 per cent reduction in 2015.

The town’s detection rate, or the number of cases resolved with a charge or caution, currently stands at 20 per cent, compared to a rate of 25 per cent for the whole of Devon and Cornwall in 2014.

But despite the majority of victims not seeing the perpetrator brought to justice, 83.4 per cent of aggrieved parties say they were satisfied with the quality of service provided by the police, according to official force statistics.

Updating town councillors on the latest figures at a meeting earlier this month, Sgt Andy Squires said: “The focus of the chief very much at the moment is protecting the vulnerable, preventing harm and supporting witnesses and the aggrieved, which doesn’t necessarily mean detecting their offence.

“A vast amount of our aggrieved parties don’t want us to approach the offender for various reasons, and there is much more focus on supporting them and going along with their wishes.

“Whereas, a few years ago, the local detective inspector would be hammering on our door saying ‘we’ve got a name for this crime – go and bring him to justice’, regardless of the wishes of the victim.

“Whilst we can see a slight decline in detection rate, the customer satisfaction figures are on the increase.

“So I’m not surprised the detection rates are 20 per cent, as opposed to 30 or 40 per cent - but there are a lot more satisfied victims out there.”

● Police are working to catch a motorist who drove ‘doughnuts’ over Sidmouth Golf Club and caused £5,000 worth of damage on the ninth green.

Sergeant Andy Squires said the driver would have gone up Bickwell Valley and is appealing for anyone who saw or heard anything suspicious.

The incident happened sometime between 3pm on Christmas Eve and lunchtime last Tuesday (December 29).

Anyone with information is asked to contact the police on 101 and quote crime reference CR/089173/15.

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