Police reports now contain 'less local information', councillor claims

Police reports to parish councils contain “less local information” following changes to the force IT system, a senior councillor has said.

West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion said he was “disappointed” to hear members were unsatisfied and said he would follow the matter up with the force, but added postcode-level crime data was available online.

He was replying to a question from Roger Evans, who leads the opposition Liberal Democrat group on Shropshire Council.

West Mercia Police and Crime Panel member, Councillor Evans, said individual parishes were “subsumed” within larger groupings in the new Safer Neighbourhood Team reports, and asked Mr Campion whether old-style reports could be brought back.

Councillor Evans said: “I sit on a number of parish councils and they all receive the SNT report from the local police.

“However, they have all noticed that, in recent reports, their individual parish is subsumed within half a dozen other parishes, so they have great problems identifying problems in their own parish.

“They – we – are being told this is due to a new computer system put in place by the police.

“Can you look into it and see if these original reports, of great value, can be reinstated?

Mr Campion told the panel he was pleased to hear SNTs kept in contact with parish councils, as that was his “exact intention”, but said that relationship “does have to be based on information” and he was “disappointed” to hear that was being blocked.

“If I was a parish councillor, I wouldn’t necessarily be interested in what was happening somewhere else; I would want to know about my community,” he said.

“That information is available from a variety of sources, not only internally to West Mercia but also on the Police.uk website.”

He said he would pursue the parish reports with the force.

“It’s a bit like all new systems; there might be a few teething problems, but that should be irrelevant to you, the citizens,” he said.

“All you should experience is a better service.”

Jim Lavery, who represents Donnington on Telford & Wrekin Council and is a member of Donnington and Muxton Parish Council, said a local police newsletter he received “has only got half of the parish in and two other wards as well”.

He said: “When I emailed and asked why, I was told the other half is in a group with two other wards.

“It would be handy if we had all of one parish in one group, so we could keep total visibility of what is happening.”

Mr Campion asked Cllr Lavery to email him with the details of his particular area, but said he agreed with him in principle.

“I believe public services should organise themselves for the convenience of the public they serve, not for their own,” Mr Campion said.

“It seems perverse that a parish would be split up in the way you describe.”

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