Police failings reach new low

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More than half the crimes committed in Hawick go unsolved and many reported incidents are not followed up.

This was the stark revelation from police at Tuesday’s Teviot and Liddesdale Area Forum in the town hall.

And one Hawick councillor is asking police to rethink priorites relating to rural crime after a spate of incidents in his ward.

The monthly police report revealed the low solvency rates which currently stand at 45.20 per cent.

Councillor Ron Smith aired concerns that rural crime is no longer a ward priority for Hawick and Hermitage and he said this needs to be addressed.

Mr Smith said: “I am concerned that rural crime is no longer seen as award priority.”

The police officer who attended the forum offered little defence to the poor crime solvency rates.

However, Response Sergeant Mark Cranston, who admitted the figures were poor, revealed that crimes go through a screening process and if there are no witnesses, CCTV or corroborating evidence, the reports are shelved and may not be looked at for a week.

Sgt Cranston said: “There has been a change in how reported crimes are dealt with when they are phoned in by members of the public. If there are no witnesses, no CCTV and no evidence, that case report is basically closed down with very little

And he added: “We find that this is an issue for us in that by the time some of the crimes come back to us they are a week old.”

Sgt Cranston then admitted that some crimes would have been detected if they had been acted upon quicker and that in certain cases the delay meant “evidence is lost”.

He continued: “This is an issue for me.”

Councillor Watson McAteer said: “Thank you for a very honest response but 45 per cent detection rates are not good.”

Mr Cranston responded by saying: “No it is not.”

Councillor McAteer continued: “These figures are well below what we expect here.”

Highlighting vandalism, Mr McAteer added: “Vandalism is the one issue that we have in every part of the town and if we can’t solve this kind of crime it just gets worse and leads to bigger things. I’m very concerned and this needs to be addressed.”

Councillor Smith expressed concern that rural crime is no longer a ward priority and asked that it be reinstated as such.