Crime claim

PUBLISHED: 11:32 05 February 2009 | UPDATED: 10:27 10 June 2010

BUDLEIGH Salterton's mayor has accused the police of fiddling the town's crime figures - claiming an attempted break-in at the Public Hall was not recorded as an offence. Councillor Chris Kitson said the council is prepared to take the matter to the chief

BUDLEIGH Salterton's mayor has accused the police of fiddling the town's crime figures - claiming an attempted break-in at the Public Hall was not recorded as an offence.Councillor Chris Kitson said the council is prepared to take the matter to the chief constable, Stephen Otter, and the Home Office, if the police do not log the damage caused to the Public Hall doors and window as a crime.The police denied manipulating the town's crime figures.A police spokesman said: "Police are currently reviewing whether or not this incident should be deemed a crime based on additional local knowledge provided by the neighbourhood beat manager. "The reason for it not being classified as a crime at the initial assessment was that the damage to the door and window were not considered to be an attempted break in due to existing problems with the door and the window's state of disrepair."Budleigh Salterton neighbourhood beat manager PC David Lea said he had been in contact with Inspector Jez Capey over the council's concerns."I have asked Inspector Capey to review the incident to see if the decision can be reconsidered," said PC Lea.Councillor Kitson said the Public Hall doors and a window facing the car park had been tampered with.He said a locksmith was called who confirmed the doors and locks had been twisted and forced.Cllr Kitson said the incident left a bad taste in the mouth of the town - residents had been told by the police to report each and every crime to give a true reflection of crime levels to ensure the town's level of police cover was not lost."It has been logged on the force computer that the police attended, but not logged as a crime," said Cllr Kitson. "They have crimed the Public Hall toilets which had two locks broken, so what's the difference?"Because they have very little or no crime in Budleigh Salterton, it presents them with a challenge to record it. "We can only assume it's not good for their statistics."I am very disappointed they can discriminate between potential evidence of a break-in of our property and the physical evidence. "We would hope they would record it as a crime."I wonder if any of our residents have been in a similar situation to keep the figures down?"l The police are appealing for witnesses after the Public Hall toilets were broken into sometime between last Tuesday and Thursday, January 27-29, possibly overnight.The police believe youths damaged the locks to gain access to the toilets to use as a place to meet.Police can be contacted on 08452 777444 and the crime number when reporting any information is KE/09/292.

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