We will continue to arrest criminals says Hampshire’s Chief Constable

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Hampshire’s top policeman says his officers will continue to arrest criminals, following reports that police have been instructed to make fewer arrests because of the lack of space in prisons.

Chief Constable Scott Chilton said keeping the public safe and pursuing criminals are his top priorities and will remain so.

His comments follow The Times revealing that a letter from the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) circulated last week urging chief constables to consider “pausing” what were called “non-priority arrests”.

The letter also suggested halting planned operations where a large number of arrests were likely to “ease the pressure within the criminal justice system”.

Court cases are already being delayed and some prisoners are being released early due to prison overcrowding.

The Government said the impact of the pandemic and barristers’ strike was putting pressure on prisons, but Labour said it was due to Conservative “mismanagement” of the criminal justice system.

The NPCC letter dated May 14th, reported in the Times, said: “Consideration is to be given to pausing non-priority arrests and any planned operations, where large numbers of arrests may take place to ease the pressure within the criminal justice system.”

Hampshire Chief Constable Scott Chilton said: “Relentlessly pursuing criminals and giving victims the service they expect from policing remain our core priorities.

“We continue to be proactive in arresting those who are suspected of committing crimes, targeting prolific offenders and people who are wanted on warrants. We are arresting more people and bringing them into our custody centres, and this remains our approach.

“We are aware of the pressures being faced by our partners within the wider criminal justice system, and working with them to ensure that people can continue to be brought before the courts in a timely manner. We will provide the support required, but we must keep the public safe.”

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