Police 'frustrated' dealing social media rows rather than burglaries
San Francisco : Police now spend too much of their time dealing with social media bust-ups -- such as Facebook and Twitter -- rather than tackling more serious crimes like burglary, a top cop has claimed.
The new head of the Police Federation John Apter -- who represents 120,000 rank and file officers across England and Wales -- said his members were "incredibly frustrated" because they felt were no longer able to do the job they had signed up to do, The Telegraph reported on Saturday.
Rather than attending burglaries and helping to prevent soaring levels of violence, police officers were often being deployed to sort out petty arguments on Facebook and Twitter, Apter said.
The new head explained that while resourcing remained the main issue facing policing, there was also a lack of common sense when it came to priorities.
Earlier this year, the Telegraph revealed that police forces were failing to investigate two thirds of domestic burglaries properly and in many cases were not even attending crime scenes because there was little chance of catching the offender.
But last week it emerged that one force had asked people to report insults on social media, even if they were not considered to be a hate crime.
Other forces have been criticised recently for using computer programmes rather than experienced officers to decide whether a burglary is worth investigating.
Such initiatives have led to criticism of the police and accusations that the service is out of touch with the public.
But Apter said nobody was more frustrated than police officers when they were prevented from attending burglaries and other serious crimes.
"Burglary is one of the most intrusive, horrible crimes that a householder can go through. It makes you feel incredibly vulnerable, but people can sometimes wait days for a police response," Apter said.
"Even if there is little chance of catching the person responsible, police officers know the value of spending a little bit of time with the victim, talking through their concerns and offering them some reassurance," Apter added.