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Concern over crimes going unreported

PUBLISHED: 09:57 30 July 2008 | UPDATED: 09:03 13 July 2010

CRIMES are going unreported in the North Walsham area because people have no faith in the police's non-emergency 0845 phone number, town councillors heard.

CRIMES are going unreported in the North Walsham area because people have no faith in the police's non-emergency 0845 phone number, town councillors heard.

Frustrated callers hang up after being held in a queue for long periods as they try to report incidents, Tuesday's meeting was told.

The council is to ask police for an explanation of why the number is used and wants more information on local crime statistics after concerns that apparently falling figures could have been "massaged".

Dave Robertson said when he called the 0845 456 4567 service recently it had been quickly answered by a receptionist who told him she would transfer him and someone would take details.

"I then had to wait for 17 minutes and 27 seconds - and the call cost me 21p," he said. "I think half the time, after waiting so long, people say 'blow it - I won't bother'." He wondered how much money the police made out of the service.

Eric Seward also feared that people were deterred from reporting non-999 crimes. He said: "I don't think someone watching the windscreen wipers being taken off his car at 1am is going to dial 0845 and wait for 17 minutes."

Town mayor Brian Wexler said he had spoken police earlier this month who told him they were embarrassed and unhappy about the 0845 service.

Police statistics for the month ending on July 25 showed that there had been a decrease in total crimes, from 66 in the same period last year, to 44.

The North Walsham figures included cases of 18 thefts (20 in 2007), 0 drug possessions (1), 12 violence against the person and public order (15) and 11 criminal damage (26).

But the police report noted that the figures did not add up to the total as they only covered the main categories and "not some types of crime, like fraud".

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