A NEW police crime investigation system which reduces crime and boosts staff motivation is set to be rolled out across Devon and Cornwall following the success of a trial in Falmouth and Helston.
During the pilot for the new process, which started in December, officers saw crime fall by 12 per cent.
The test run of the new system also increased the ‘bought to justice’ rate by 10 per cent compared to the same three month period in the previous year.
“The reason for the system is twofold,” said Sergeant Martin Roberts, from Falmouth Police Station.
“It is to address and keep victim safety as high as we could but also to increase staff motivation and wellbeing in these times of budget cuts.”
Under the old system in Falmouth, crimes were allocated to individual officers who work on each case from beginning to end, collecting evidence such as complainant statements, CCTV footage and witness statements.
But due to shift patterns and rest days, it could take up to three days to collect one piece of evidence, and up to three weeks to gather all the evidence on a single crime.
Sergeant Roberts said the new system has reduced the average time taken to collect any one piece of evidence to just three hours.
Instead of being handed to an individual officer, the details of the crime remain on a central computer program called Hatpeg.
The task sheet logs all the ‘actions’ needed during the investigation, such as which evidence to collect, and whichever officer is on duty picks up the crime during his or her shift, so the crime remains live day and night.
“The staff love it,” said Mr Roberts. “They don’t carry their workload when they go off shift. When they clock off, the crime is still being investigated by their colleagues.”
He added that this system frees the officers for more proactive duties other things, such as road safety checks, drug stops and patrolling commercial properties at nighttime under Operation Heartbeat – which caught a Falmouth post office burglar red-handed with £20,000 cash two weeks ago.
Positive outcomes from increased drug stops are also up year-on-year, said Mr Roberts.
Sergeant Roberts said: “Before the trial our positive outcomes remained at a static level.
“Since the trial started we have maintained a higher level of bought to justice outcomes for a longer period of time.
“I put that down to being able to resolve crimes quicker which means we get offenders quicker which has an impact on the bought to justice outcomes.”
The trial started on December 18 at Falmouth police station. It was taken up by Helston a month later.
Due to the success, the process could be rolled out across other sectors including Plymouth, Torquay and East and West Cornwall.
“It has shown to be so successful that these sectors have shown interest,” said Sergeant Roberts.