Some minor crimes in the North East of Scotland will no longer be investigated by police under a new pilot scheme.
Police Scotland say crimes where there is “no associated threat, risk, harm or vulnerability” will not be taken further.
An example given of a crime where no further action will be taken is a garden theft.
In a statement Police Scotland said: “If there are no proportionate lines of enquiry such as CCTV or eye witness evidence, then we may inform the caller that the report will be filed and no further action taken.”
The force says the new approach, which was previously rolled out in Grampian, will give officers “more time to focus on proportionate lines of enquiry, responding to emergencies and keeping people safe from harm”.
“Appropriate measures will be taken to ensure safety and wellbeing” when incidents involving public “risk, harm or vulnerability” are reported, the force confirmed.
The statement also said “hard choices” would be made in response to “the real terms reduction in our funding allocation for 2023-24”.
The force stated: “Action is also being taken to achieve savings, with areas which encounter the greatest demand and carry the greatest risk in keeping people safe being prioritised for resources.
But ultimately this is about getting people the right help when we are contacted and will enable us to spend more time tackling crime, responding to local concerns and keeping people safe.”
Divisional commander chief superintendent Graeme Mackie said: “The pilot process will enable local police officers to focus on those crimes that have proportionate lines of enquiry and potentially enable them to give more time to local concerns and priorities in the area.
“We also know that sometimes people simply want to report a crime and we want to provide that service efficiently.
“Please continue to report crime in your area. Local officers will continue to review closed reports to enable them to map local crime trends and this may mean an enquiry is re-opened and investigated.”
A spokeswoman for the Scottish Government said: “While these decisions are a matter for the Chief Constable, it is vital Police Scotland continues to inspire public trust and maintains relationships with local communities.
“This will be crucial when the results of this pilot are examined to ensure local priorities continue to be met with no detriment to communities.
“The Scottish Government has increased police funding year-on-year since 2016-17, investing more than £11.6 billion since the creation of Police Scotland in 2013, despite difficult financial circumstances due to UK Government austerity.”
Opposition parties have raised concerns about safety, with Scottish Tory justice spokesman Russell Findlay saying: “The SNP government’s decision to impose severe and sustained cuts on police budgets has depleted policing across Scotland, with the fewest number of officers since 2008.
“Police Scotland should be applauded for being so candid about the reality of their predicament, but communities deserve better than the SNP’s weak approach to justice and shabby surrender to criminals.
“Ministers must be up front with the public about whether this policy will potentially be rolled out elsewhere in Scotland.”
Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokesman Liam McArthur said: “The police are being forced to make terrible choices because the Scottish Government have expected them to do so much with so little for so long.
“The SNP’s botched centralisation of policing and brutal cuts have hit officer and staff numbers hard.
“To cut crime and deliver for communities, Scottish Liberal Democrats would enhance community policing and ensure that officers have both the support and resources they need to do their jobs.”