Colchester's policing boss says half of all knife crime victims and 40 per cent of substance attack victims do not support prosecutions against the perpetrators.

In a frank statement in response to 60 per cent of town centre crimes being recorded as 'no further action', chief inspector Shaun Kane, District Commander for Colchester, said: "Colchester is a safe place to live and work. More than 200,000 people live in the whole borough and, for every thousand of those people, fewer than nine will be the victim of crime.

"Our job is to protect and serve the people of Colchester, whether that’s in the town centre or the rest of the district, and I would encourage you to continue to report crime to us or anonymously through Crimestoppers.

"If we don’t know what’s happening, we can’t put steps in place to change or prevent crime, especially if there are patterns we need to address, such as emerging trends in local anti-social behaviour or increases in local concerns regarding a particular issue."

He added: "Unfortunately, there are a number of reasons why we may be unable to take crimes forward for further action.

"In some cases the victim doesn’t support a prosecution. For example, across Essex 50 per cent of knife crime victims do not support an investigation, and neither do 40 per cent of victims of substance attacks.

"It’s not impossible to get a conviction without the support of a victim but it does make it more difficult to get the case to court.

"It could also be that there are limited opportunities to get evidence or identify a suspect.

"With crimes like burglary for instance, if there’s no CCTV, no witnesses and no forensic evidence, it means we can exhaust our lines of enquiry very quickly and, unless someone comes forward with key information, we may not be able to take any further action."

The policing boss added: "My teams work diligently to try and find answers to every crime, and our end goal is always to bring perpetrators to justice by taking them to court. Sadly, there are factors which can mean this just isn’t the case.

"I am confident my new dedicated policing team for the town centre will continue to show people in Colchester that our officers are on their side if they are the victim of crime.

“Over the past 12 months, we’ve seen a decrease in overall crime across the district, which is down by 6.8 per cent since September 2017. I’m really pleased to say that we’ve also seen a reduction in anti-social behaviour, with 120 fewer incidents this year.

“This is encouraging in reversing the trends we’ve seen in crime and anti-social behaviour so far, but I recognise that there is more to be done, and my teams and the partners we work with are committed to doing so.

“Each investigation is reviewed on a case-by-case basis and we will always follow the evidence available to seek justice for our victims.

"If we are unable to prosecute for any reason, we will still always put the need of the victim first and strive for the best outcome available.”