Lincs Police - Thousands Of Crimes Unrecorded
17 July 2018, 12:19 | Updated: 17 July 2018, 12:28
A report's found thousands of crimes including sexual offences, grievous bodily harm and rape have gone unrecorded by Lincolnshire Police.
A watchdog examined records between June 1 and November 30 2017 and estimated that more than 9,400 reported crimes went unrecorded each year, about 18.8% of the total.
Overall, the force was found to be inadequate in terms of recording reported crime.
Her Majesty's Inspector of Constabulary Zoe Billingham said:
"It is of very great concern to me that Lincolnshire Police is failing to record almost one in five crimes reported to it.
Although safeguarding measures were in place for many of the victims, there was little evidence of investigations being undertaken where the crime had not made it on to the books. This is particularly true for cases of domestic abuse.
The importance of correctly recording crime cannot be overlooked, or simply passed off as a bureaucratic measure. If a force does not correctly record crime it cannot properly understand the demand on its services, nor provide support to those who need it most."
Victims of crime can only access certain support services when a crime is recorded, and a lack of accurate statistics can also leave senior officers without vital information when allocating resources.
Deputy Chief Constable Craig Naylor, from Lincolnshire Police, said measures have been put in place to improve recording and insisted the force's "service has not slipped".
The report by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) said "a large proportion of common assaults and malicious communication offences, and a small number of more serious crimes including sexual offences, grievous bodily harm and rape" were not recorded.
Of particular concern was violent crime, where fewer than three-quarters (72.7%) of incidents were recorded, with some crimes of grievous bodily harm and wounding where victims were badly injured not being recorded.
The watchdog said:
"This means that on too many occasions, the force is failing victims of crime."
Questions were also raised about audits of crime recording that were carried out by the force.
The report said:
"We also conclude that the audits carried out by the force were not conducted correctly and the results suggested a better compliance with the recording rules than was the case."
Mr Naylor said measures have been put in place since last year to improve recording.
We are deeply disappointed by this report and absolutely committed to ensuring we resolve the problem quickly and effectively," he said.
We have made mistakes and we will not shirk from accepting and correcting them.
Our focus and commitment is to ensure victims are at the centre of all that we do and I am confident that, despite issues in how we have recorded some crimes, that service has not slipped from the high standards we set ourselves.
There are no 'missed' victims or offenders - what we have missed is the correct procedure for recording them."
A force spokeswoman said that many of the cases in question were ongoing inquiries where previous, historical incidents had not been correctly recorded - for example if a victim of domestic violence reports crimes stretching back a number of years.