Police chief's anger over criticism of Derbyshire force
DERBYSHIRE'S Police and Crime Commissioner has slammed a report that says only 10% of the county's officers are "visible" to the public.
Alan Charles said the work officers do behind the scenes, such as investigating child pornography offences and financial fraud, are as much "front line" as bobbies on the streets of Derbyshire.
His words come after the TaxPayers' Alliance says figures it has obtained from the Home Office show just 10.2% of officers in Derbyshire are "visible and available".
The organisation says this refers to police walking the beat and the figure puts Derbyshire as one of the top five forces outside London to have the fewest of this type of officer.
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But Mr Charles said the TaxPayers' Alliance was being "mischievous" with its report which was released yesterday .
He said: "Firstly the problem with these Home Office figures is that it does not include the significant number of officers we have working in collaboration with the other four forces in the East Midlands. And secondly, I have a problem with the term 'front line' which they say are essentially bobbies on the beat.
"In Derbyshire there are a number of specialist officers who work extremely hard to, for example, detect and monitor those people who buy, sell and share child pornography. Similarly there are officers in units that examine financial crimes such as fraud and credit card cloning.
"They are not classed in these figures as 'visible and available' but I think the public would agree with me when I say the work they are doing is as much front line as those who are physically seen walking the streets of the county."
The report compares how many police officers and Police Community Support Officers are "visible and available" according to Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabularies.
Derbyshire's figure of 10.2% is below the national average of 11.8% with the City of London having the lowest figure at 7.2%. Nottinghamshire has one of the top five figures at 16.5%.
Matthew Sinclair, chief executive of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said: "Many police forces can do more to use their resources efficiently and get more of their officers out on the front line fighting crime.
"Of course the police have some important work to do that will sometimes legitimately stop them being available for visible policing, but the large differences between forces suggests some are giving taxpayers much better value for money.."