Force's response to assault 'a disgrace'
THE mother of a Helston teenager attacked on a night out has accused local police of not acting quickly enough to investigate.
Helston Community College student Adam Cooper, 17, suffered a broken nose and black eye when he and two friends were set upon by a gang in Meneage Street.
His mother, Michelle, said Adam returned home in the early hours covered in blood and concussed.
The next day she tried to report the crime at Helston's police station, but was told to use the 101 non-emergency hotline.
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Disgusted after several calls to 101 and waiting more than three days for an officer to deal with the incident, she complained to new Police and Crime Commissioner, Tony Hogg.
In January Mr Hogg called for improvements to 101, which was rolled out across all forces in September to make it easier for the public to report crime, saying it was taking too long for callers to be dealt with.
Mrs Cooper wrote to Mr Hogg: "This was a completely unprovoked attack, and two of his friends were also assaulted. The injuries to my son's face are so severe that the hospital is unable to X-ray and treat him, due to the amount of swelling.
"It is most likely that surgery will be required to repair the damage to his nose.
"This was a serious assault on a child. I attempted to attend Helston Police Station early on Sunday morning to report this act of violence. There were five police vehicles parked outside, but apparently there was no one available to help."
Officers interviewed her son four days after the assault.
She added: "This is an absolute disgrace. These thugs are still roaming the town. What a fabulous deterrent ... who will be next? What has happened to my son is a serious offence, and with the best will in the world I find it very hard to believe that all the police officers in the Kerrier area were dealing with more serious crimes than this."
Devon and Cornwall Police apologised for not responding to Mrs Cooper within 24 hours of the incident being logged using the 101 number.
A spokesman said: "The issue is whether the incident is still happening and needs prompt attention. If the incident is over and there is no likelihood of immediate arrest and evidence not being lost then it comes down to priorities.
"It doesn't mean that the crime is less important. It comes down to conflicting demands as long as it is dealt with appropriately."
PC Jamie Hibbert, leading the investigation, said the attack on all three teenagers was "unprovoked" and inquiries were continuing.
Anyone with information is urged to call 101, quoting crime reference AH13/268.