Essex Police has defended its record after claims by a former officer that the force cared more about hitting targets than solving crimes or helping victims.

Mark Jones, 40, of Sible Hedingham, was dismissed earlier this year after 12 years serving in Chelmsford, Great Dunmow and Braintree.

He was found not guilty in court of assaulting a 14-year-old in Chelmsford while on duty but was dismissed at a disciplinary hearing for using excessive force and failing to act with honesty and integrity.

He is appealing the decision.

Mr Jones said: “I want the public to know Essex Police is not whiter than white.

“100 per cent, figures are being fixed.”

He claimed crimes were classifed in line with what figures were wanted rather than what happened and departments would re-classify crimes just to pass over responsibility.

A spokesman for Essex Police said: “Essex Police is acutely aware it is very important for our communities to have faith in the accuracy of crime data.

“From an operational view point it is also vital crime data accurately reflects what is happening so we deploy our people to the right place at the right time.

“We have a robust audit process which is independent from those parts of the organisation responsible for delivering performance.

“Essex Police does not intend to respond to the allegations made by Mr Jones, who is a former officer dismissed by the force.”