POLICE units set up to tackle 80 per cent of crime in North Yorkshire are missing their targets and could be given help from other teams.

The investigation hubs were introduced across the region in spring 2015 as a way for the force to deal with ‘volume crime’, the crimes most commonly dealt with by police, including burglary, criminal damage and theft.

Four hubs were set up, in York, Harrogate, Scarborough and Northallerton, but the police corporate performance delivery and scrutiny board - headed up by Police and Crime Commissioner Julia Mulligan - was told recently that the units were “achieving about 50 per cent of volume crime across the force”.

Staffed by detectives, uniformed officers and police staff, the hubs have the capability to carry out CCTV processing, drug testing and examination of mobile devices for evidence, rather than sending it to more specialist units, but the meeting heard a “shift review” was being carried out to determine whether the Serious Crime Team was able to assist the hubs and help them meet their targets.

Assistant Chief Constable Lisa Winward said it was possible more police staff or civilian investigators could be brought into the hubs.

She said: “There are potential opportunities to create economies of scale with Investigation Hubs because the Safer Crime Team and Investigation Hubs are on different shift patterns at the moment, and there are some forces that find they gain capacity because they have got two teams of investigators there that have got similar skills that have got complimentary skills that can support each other with shifting demand.”

York Press:

Deputy Chief Constable Tim Madgwick said he had spent time with the teams who had presented issues over staffing numbers, and acknowledged that the work of the SCTs and the hubs were already closely linked, but said the important thing was not numbers, but the skills of the people on the teams.

Mr Madgwick said the force “always had to bear in mind” that North Yorkshire was bordered by four of the seven forces with highest crime rates in England, and restructure the force in the way that brought the best outcome for the public.

Chief Constable Dave Jones acknowledged the force had “not been able to reach that aspiration”, and “the resource base has dropped probably to the lowest we have ever had”, but improved mobile technology - which was due to be rolled out last year, but has been delayed - would free up more time for officers.

He said: “I think we need to be clear it’s not that the public are getting any worse service as a result of patrol officers potentially carrying a crime, because they were doing that anyway, we’re trying to enhance that service delivery and the more we can take off them the better. Then it allows them to do more problem solving issues that the community are rising with us as well.”

He also said more work needed to be done with neighbouring forces and other organisations, including the Yorkshire Ambulance Service, to ensure “officers are focusing on the right things” and dealing with what they are supposed to be dealing with.