A NEW police chief has vowed to chip away at known crooks as he launches a no-nonsense approach to tackling trouble on his beat.
Durham’s Chief Constable Mike Barton has said he will use the same tactics used to crack down on Al Capone as he steps in to the role.
He is using the approach US police employed to get the gangster off the streets after his reign of terror in the 20s, putting him behind bars for tax evasion after failing to charge him with murder and extortion.
Mr Barton, who takes up the position after Jon Stoddart’s retirement, said: “It’s the classic Al Capone approach.
“If you can’t get them for robbery, burglary, serious crime, get them on lesser offences.
“We’re not always going to arrest them.
“We might know they’re bad people, but not have the evidence to arrest.
“But most people who do big bad things do little bad things too.
“Most of them drive cars, so we’ll go after them if they are not insured.
“Most of them don’t keep to building regulations, so we’ll take planning authorities to look at their houses.
“Success for me isn’t just locking people up – it’s stopping them committing crimes and getting them to start behaving like anyone else.
“All those people have neighbours and people on the other side of the street who see them committing crime and suffer.
“We’re here to be part of that intricate web of a civilised society.
“I’d like to send people to prison for a long time.
“But if I can’t, I’m going to get them for something else.”
Other actions he has put into action is to send “birthday cards” on the anniversary of their homes being raided by police to remind them they are still being watched, and giving neighbourhood officers speed cameras to target known troublemakers.
Mr Barton has been appointed to his post for three months pending the outcome of next month’s police commissioner elections.
He has previously served as assistant and deputy chief at Durham Constabulary.