Police officers in Falmouth and Helston are leading the way in a new style of policing that puts victims and staff first.
It is proving so successful that other towns in the force area are now looking to implement them.
It is hoped that the new regime, based around ‘lean’ methodology – which in simple terms involves removing layers of wasted time, effort and duplication, and instead puts customers at the very centre of what they do – will help soften the blow of the loss of four community support officers.
PCSOs Sean McDonnell and Lewis Vague, from Falmouth station, and Beth Pascoe and Mark Rogers, from Helston, are to become police constables, but budget restrictions mean they will not be replaced.
Sector Inspector Steve Lenney, though, is confident the stations will not suffer as a result. “No-one is indispensable and although they have set a very high bench mark, we need to look at how we can carry that work on,” he said. “There's going to be a period of change while we absorb their absence.
“Our loss will be softened by our different ways of working. We have taken on the ‘lean’ methodology, taken lessons learned from industry and changed how we deliver the service.
“Now, when we have a crime in Falmouth or Helston, as opposed to it going to an individual officer, we deal with it as a whole station so the whole station is aware of any crime and the whole station mucks in to solve it.
“The ‘lean’ methodology is about putting the victim or witness at the heart of what we do. It's about continual improvement and doing things differently. If we continued as we were, we would get to a tipping point where we cannot deliver the service.”
The new system involves a whole station briefing every morning when all crimes are reviewed and each officer is given a task to follow up and complete, such as door-to-door inquiries, CCTV retrieval or interviewing victims/witnesses.
The average turn-around time per task is just under three hours and the new regime has led to a 12 per cent reduction in crime and a ten per cent increase in the brought to justice rate over the last 12 months.
The new system has also enabled initiatives like Operation Heartbeat, targeting commercial burglaries, to take place and an increase in stop checks, drugs warrants, breath tests and road safety work.
Sergeant Martin Roberts, who designed and implemented the new investigation process, said: “In these times of cuts, we aim to increase victim satisfaction and increase staff morale in regard to the workload they carry.
“The tasking system is about turning over inquiries as quickly as possible so victims are not left days without knowing what is happening. It's about trying to get to the bottom of a solution as quickly as we can by everyone in the station pulling together.”
Inspector Lenney added: “We still have a way to go, we are not perfect, but this is a good starter for ten.”