Apology after police calls row

STEVE DOWNES A police authority member who told crime victims to "exaggerate" their calls to police to get a swifter response issued a fulsome apology last night for his "totally inappropriate" behaviour.

STEVE DOWNES

A police authority member who told crime victims to "exaggerate" their calls to police to get a swifter response issued a fulsome apology last night for his "totally inappropriate" behaviour.

John Perry-Warnes sparked a storm when he made the controversial comments during a Wells Town Council meeting - then refused to back down, saying his view was "not unreasonable".

But last night, having been given a public dressing down by Norfolk Police Authority chairman Stephen Bett, who said he "shouldn't have said it", the long-serving Norfolk county and north Norfolk district councillor backed down.

In a written statement, he said: "I would like to say that I bitterly regret the off-the-cuff remark I made on Monday evening."

He added: "I fully accept that to imply that the public should exaggerate the circumstances of calls to the police is a totally inappropriate thing to do.

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"I accept that in my role as a member of the police authority and of the county council and district council, I should not have encouraged such an approach."

Mr Perry-Warnes stopped short of offering his resignation - a decision backed by Mr Bett, who said: "He has apologised and that is good enough for me."

The controversial comments came after councillors and members of the public said they had become angry and frustrated over what they saw as a lack of police presence in the town and officers' failure to respond to calls.

Mr Perry-Warnes was invited to talk at Monday's meeting about general policing issues in the town.

Last night, he said he remained "very concerned" at the views expressed in the town, but added: "I do take this opportunity to encourage the public to report matters accurately, as without that information the police do not have the requisite intelligence to act upon or to assess the level of nuisance or criminality."