THE Home Office has insisted that crimes should be “investigated thoroughly” and police should be “more responsive”.

The comments came after Sussex Police chief constable Giles York said victims may no longer receive in-person visits from officers.

The government also said crime figures are down and policing budgets have been protected.

The chief constable was speaking to a national newspaper in which he said visits by police officers to victims of minor crimes may become as unthinkable as a home visit by a GP.

The Police Federation has told The Argus it agrees with the police chief’s prediction and blamed the government for spending cuts.

But the Home Office defended its record.

A spokesman said: “Every victim of crime deserves a good service from the police, regardless of their circumstances.

“We expect the crimes reported to them to be taken seriously, investigated thoroughly and, wherever possible, the perpetrators brought to justice.

“That is one of the reasons why this Government has protected overall police spending in real terms in a fair funding deal and why we are currently engaging with forces about the demands they are facing.

“Sussex Police is receiving £256 million in total direct resource funding in 2017/18. That is £6.3 million more than they received in 2015/16.”

He added that it is for the police to determine how to manage communications with the public, and that “the public expect more choice over how they interact with organisations, and they want the channels that they access to be better, quicker and more responsive.”

This weekend the Mail on Sunday reported that Giles York questioned whether an in-person visit served any purpose and said it would be more “convenient” for members of the public to interact with the force online.

He said: “If your children are ill, you might quite like the GP to visit you in your house. But it wouldn’t even cross your mind now, to think to call a GP to visit your house.”

He asked: “What’s the purpose of us going there? If it’s just to because the individual wants to see us, is that really the best use of policing time and investigation time?”

Considering how officers should deal with a victim who requested a home visit, he said: “I hope they would explain that someone coming around isn’t going to add any value to your investigation, and actually that person’s time is better spent trying to find the offender than reassuring you.”

He stressed police would still visit those who had suffered serious crimes such as burglaries, but he claimed that many people would prefer to deal with police online rather than waiting for a squad car.

Matt Webb, Sussex chairman of the rank-and-file organisation the Police Federation, backed Mr York.

He said: “I am not surprised that we are having to take this position. Although it will not be what the public want or what officers wish to provide, it is the reality that is forced upon us due to the crippling cuts imposed by this Government over the last seven years.”

He added more cuts would mean the force could provide only “the most basic service to the public, having to concentrate funds and attendance on priority incidents and crimes”.