West Midlands Police is deliberately painting an over-optimistic picture on crime by failing to tell people that serious offences are rising, Birmingham City Council was told last night.
The performance of the largest force outside of London was described as "pathetic" by Tory councillor Deirdre Alden, who claimed officers used misleading statistical information to dampen public concern.
Coun Alden (Con Edgbaston) pointed out that offences involving heroin and cocaine rose by 28 per cent across the West Midlands region during the past six months.
Violent crime had doubled since 1998 and the figures in Birmingham were above the national average.
The detection rate for all offences last year was 28 per cent, which Coun Alden described as a damning indictment of the force's failure to tackle crime.
The chances of recovering stolen property in Birmingham and the West Midlands was 25 per cent.
Coun Alden, who is also the prospective Conservative parliamentary candidate for Edgbaston, told the council that senior police officers did not "give the whole picture" when addressing public meetings and failed to relay statistics that might put the force in a bad light.
"They want to avoid flack at these meetings and defuse any potential for trouble. It is the spin they put on things that annoys me.
"The one thing that people always want to talk about when they attend meetings of the police authority is rising crime.
"There is a real concern out there about this issue.
"If you have you car stolen in Birmingham or your house broken into you would like to think you have a good chance of seeing your property again. But that is not the case. I think these are pretty damning figures," she added.
Councillors from all political parties said they were concerned about police performance.
Coun Tariq Khan (Lib Dem Washwood Heath), accused the force of unfairly targeting Muslim communities following the London terrorist bombings a year ago. He urged police to "erase the negative image" they had of Asian people.
Coun John Hood (Con Sutton Vesey), the Deputy Lord Mayor of Birmingham and a former police officer, said the Chief Constable should be prepared to attend council meetings and answer questions as happened before local government reorganisation.
"The thing that most concerns people is the escalation in violent crime.
"I do find it strange that no actual police representative comes here," Coun Hood added.
Coun Ayoub Khan (Lib Dem Aston), the council's new lead m ember on the police authority, said the West Midlands force was planning to spend £9.7 million recruiting 1,000 community support officers who would not have powers of arrest. He was concerned the CSOs would replace police officers as a cost-saving measure.
Coun Philip Parkin (Con Sutton Trinity) said police refused to attend when he reported children breaking into a business because they were "too busy dealing with the paperwork from the drunks they had arrested on the previous night".
There was support for the police from Yvonne Mosquito, who is a vice-chairman of the W est Midlands Police Authority.
C oun Mosquito (Lab Nechells) said: "We want to celebrate success. The West Midlands is the best perform-ing force in the country.
"The fact that we keep harping on about bad things makes people fearful to go out on the streets. We have a responsibility to try to life people's confidence."
And Coun Rev Richard Bashford (Lab Quinton), accusing Coun Alden of a "woe, woe, woe" mentality, said: "Is she saying that when police talk about crime figures they are telling lies? This negative rubbish is getting us nowhere."