‘Completely false and absurd’ crime figures are ‘manipulated’

Inspector Ian Lombardo

Inspector Ian Lombardo, Fenland Neighbourhood Policing. From left supporting Christmas toy appeals, working with local sports team and behind his desk looking after the area's police teams. - Credit: Archant/Cambs Police

I have been made aware of a letter that was written by a Fenland resident and was published in your newspaper. 

This letter described Cambridgeshire police, and specifically Wisbech policing teams, as incompetent. 

It stated that, in this person’s opinion, the police in Wisbech do not take action, issue fines or complete court cases as this would increase crime statistics in the Wisbech area. 

Due to the nature of our work, we are always open to criticism about actions we may or may not have taken.  

Sometimes this criticism is understandable as we are human and can make mistakes. 

Where this is the case, as a force we take feedback on board and learn from it so we can improve our service to our communities. 

However, sometimes we face criticism that is based on little more than an ill-informed personal opinion.  

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Generally, when we receive local criticism, we will not publicly respond but instead discuss the concerns raised with the individual in question.  

Due to the recent exceptional circumstances that the emergency services have faced and the strong comments made in the recent letter, I felt it was not only appropriate but necessary to provide a response publicly. 

This is to show support to not only my officers but also to the vast majority of the community who appreciate the work we do on a daily basis. 

I often find that one of the main issues the police face is that we cannot openly talk about all the work we are undertaking due to a variety of reasons such as legal restrictions or operational effectiveness. 

Also, with the continual growth of social media there can sometimes be a perception that if we haven’t posted about it then we aren’t doing it, which I can assure you isn’t the case. 

As the Inspector for the Fenland area, I would therefore like to reassure all residents of the following: 

1: Your officers in the Fenland area are working extremely hard to keep you safe and bring offenders to justice.  

You will often hear us talk about prioritising our resources and sometimes we have to look at everything that’s coming in and assess which incident or issue is going to be responded to first.  

These decisions are not easy but although we may have more resources, we do not have endless resources.  

This is no different to when you go to A&E and your injury is triaged and the person with the most serious injury gets to see a doctor first. 

2: Anti-social behaviour is taken very seriously by the teams and they have and still are working hard to deal with any groups that feel it is okay to harass members of the community.  

However, it is not always us as the police who are the best or most effective service to deal with an individual or an issue.  

As such, we work very closely with other agencies in order to not only fully understand the circumstances but also identify the most effective measures to help stop and prevent this type of behaviour. 

3: Everyone is entitled to their own opinion no matter how wrong or ill-informed it may be. 

But to suggest we don’t act on an issue or take things to court in an attempt to somehow manipulate crime figures for the area is not only completely false, it’s absurd. 

4: In regards to drug use this is not always as simple as targeting someone dealing drugs on a street corner. There are a range of issues we need to look at.  

Yes, we need to understand who, where, when and what is being dealt. 

But we also need to look at who is controlling the dealer, where the drugs are being stored, how the dealers operate and why there is the demand in the area for that drug.  

If there wasn’t a demand there wouldn’t be a need for a supply.  

Therefore, we look at how we can help those using the drugs and again this can only be done working with our partner agencies.  

Be assured though that the teams continue to receive and develop intelligence around drug dealing and drug use in the Fenland area and we have and will continue to robustly target this activity. 

There will be individuals who read this letter and will criticise either my response or the fact that I responded at all, however if I hadn’t responded there would also be individuals who would criticise me for that as well.  

This is just the reality of the service that I joined. 

My final message to you, the Fenland community, is that you have a great bunch of motivated and hardworking officers deployed in your area.  

At the start of their shift, they go to the locker room, put on their body armour, turn on their radio and have no idea what the shift will bring. 

I have personally seen officers running out of the station while still getting kitted up before their shift is due to start due to a report of burglary in progress or a report of a lost child. 

I have also witnessed officers ringing their families to let them know they will be home late again due to an incident that has occurred or a vulnerable person that has gone missing. 

On a daily basis your officers deal with situations that you may never have to deal with or only experience once or twice in your lifetime. 

I stand by my statements in this letter. 

I stand by my officers on the frontline. 

And I stand by and want to thank everyone who openly and privately supports their policing teams. 


Inspector Ian Lombardo, Fenland Neighbourhood Policing