POLICE are asking victims of crime to launch their own investigations and are not attending some incidents at all, a report has found.
Greater Manchester Police (GMP) is also sending PCSOs out to investigate crimes on their own, with Her Majesty’s Inspectorate Constabulary (HMIC) questioning whether they have the skills required.
HMIC wrote to GMP with their findings after assessing how all 43 police forces in the UK are preventing and investigating crime, and freeing up police resources.
Chief constable Sir Peter Fahy described the force’s PCSOs as a “vital” part of policing and stressed that HMIC has rated GMP’s plans to deal with cuts as “outstanding”.
The letter states: “During the inspection, HMIC reviewed a number of crime investigations, including reports of crimes that were not attended.
“In certain cases, for crimes such as burglary dwellings, there was clear evidence of investigation and supervision.
“However, for other offences, such as theft from a motor vehicle, many of which were not attended, some cases were found to have little evidence of meaningful investigation or supervision.
“HMIC identified some examples of victims calling to report crimes and being asked to conduct local enquiries in relation to their own crimes in lieu of a police officer attending.”
The letter also remarks on the number of vacancies in the force’s call handling team, which stood at 23 when the inspection was carried out, and how the force was unable to provide a figure for the number of suspects waiting to be dealt with.
Sir Peter Fahy said: "Staff in the call centre and control room can access the history of an address and frequently do so to tell officers that we have been there before.
“They can also access on our secure system intelligence on any address or individual.
"PCSOs are a vital part of neighbourhood policing and we now have PCSOs who have served for ten years and we use them in line with their skills and experience as part of the neighbourhood policing team.
“In fact, we have many PCSOs who want to do more things and we are reviewing whether there are more things they can do as the overall number of staff reduces.
"I would also stress that the HMIC recently rated our plans to cope with budget reduction as outstanding."
Roger Baker, who led the inspection, said: “Police forces have done a good job in tackling crime and anti-social behaviour, leading to long-term reductions over the last ten years.
“However, we were concerned to find that a member of the public will receive a different response from the police for the same type of crime or incident, depending on where they live; this sort of postcode lottery has to stop and a consistent approach applied across England and Wales.”