Northumbria Police bosses have declined to comment on claims forces could be forced to give up on attending domestic burglaries.
Sara Thornton, head of the new National Police Chiefs’ Council, said budget cuts and the changing nature of crime across England and Wales meant forces would have to rethink the priority they gave to different offences and a “conversation with the public” was needed to shape future policing. She said: “Crime is changing in this country. There are a lot less burglaries than there used to be, a lot less car crime, but the sorts of crimes that are on the increase – sexual offences, concerns about terrorism, cyber crime – that’s where we really need to focus.
“If we’re really serious about putting a lot of effort into protecting children, for example, it might mean if you’ve had a burglary, for example, and the burglar has fled, we won’t get there as quickly as we have in the past.
“Of course, we will still want to gather evidence, but we might do it in different ways.”
A Northumbria Police spokesman said the force would not be commenting on Ms Thornton’s remarks but Durham Constabulary remains committed to attending all calls where necessary.
A spokesman said: “Our policy is to attend in person all crimes reported, unless there is a valid reason otherwise.
“At present we attend over 96% of reported crimes, the exceptions being cases which can be handled purely by a telephone investigation, such as historical offences where there is effectively no crime scene to visit.
“While managing resources and balancing priorities will continue to be a challenge for the police service, there are no plans to change the policy in Durham.”