VICTIMS of petty crimes have been urged to shun Facebook pages and report all incidents to the police...even though there is no guarantee an officer will investigate them.

Chief Insp Rob Huddleston, Colchester’s district commander, said it was important his team had details about everything even though staffing levels meant officers would not be able to attend all the time.

Speaking to Colchester Council’s crime and disorder committee, Mr Huddleston said police had to prioritise each case individually on whether anyone was in danger and whether a conviction was likely.

He said:”We do an assessment on threat, harm and risk - and if there is a threat to life or of serious violence then you will get a response.

“For more minor crimes - for example a shed burglary - there is a further assessment done around investigative opportunities.

“We have to ask ourselves - is there any way we can solve this crime?

“If it is a shed in a field, no CCTV, no lights which was burgled and there are no forensic opportunities it will likely become a desk-based investigation.

“Everyone taking those reports are trained crime investigators and if there are investigative opportunities it will be passed to an officer.

“If there are no investigative opportunities the priority will change to victim care.

“They will then be asked a number of questions to assess their vulnerability and if the person is not best equipped to deal with being a victim of crime then it will also be assigned to an officer.

“If there are a number of crimes in the same area there may be an opportunity to build a bigger picture.”

Mr Huddleston said reporting crimes exclusively on social media was unlikely to help them be solved and said they could not be investigated unless they are reported to the police.

“I need people to report the crime to us,” he said.

“I have had emails and messages from councillors criticising us for not investigating things they have seen on Facebook.

“But when I have looked into it, the crimes have never been mentioned to us.

“Don’t just put it on the Facebook group - pick up the phone and call 101 or report in our website which has been redesigned to make reporting simple.

“If you have got time to report it on Facebook then there is time to report it to us.”

Mr Huddleston also revealed crime had gone up by 15.1 per cent in Colchester in the last year - less than the Essex-wide average of 17 per cent.

He said reasons for that could be because of the way crimes are recorded - with some individual incidents counting towards three crime categories.

To report crimes online visit