Crimes are down in Sutton, but police are in the dock, for failing to reach non-emergency calls on time.

Figures show total offences are down 6.9 per cent, from 10,588 to 9,856 in the first half of the financial year of 2009/ 2010, compared with the same period the previous year.

However, officers are failing to reach non-emergency calls within the 60 minute standard.

The current average response time, measured since April 2009, is 104 minutes.

However, the figures, released by the Metropolitan Police, show Sutton officers are attending emergency calls on time, with an average response time of 11.54 minutes, against a 12-minute standard.

A Sutton police spokesman said: “Response times should be put in the context of the staffing resources allocated to each borough.

“This is based on many factors, including population size.

“In Sutton, this means we have fewer officers working in one of the largest boroughs geographically.

“Despite our officers having to travel further, we respond to a great many of our calls within the target time or just a few seconds after it. Our performance has been improving month on month since July 2009 – with further improvements expected.”

Non-emergency calls are defined as those which involve vulnerable victims and witnesses, such as a report of domestic burglary, sudden death, hate crimes or when a witness or other evidence is likely to be lost.

Emergency calls are likely to include a risk of danger to life, immediate threat of violence, serious injury to another person and serious damage to property.