Police Watchdog Finds Many Offences Not Recorded

18 November 2014, 14:07 | Updated: 18 November 2014, 15:56

Police forces in Herts, Beds, Bucks and Northants are being criticised after a report found, nationally, 800-thousand crimes, go unrecorded every year.

An Inspection by the police watchdog found more than a quarter of sex offences aren't being logged properly.

  • BEDFORDSHIRE - 75% of crimes recorded correctly (25% not recorded properly)
  • HERTFORDSHIRE - 75% of crimes recorded correctly (25% not recorded properly)
  • NORTHANTS - 67% of crimes recorded correctly (33% not recorded properly)
  • THAMES VALLEY - 87.5% of crimes recorded correctly (12.5% not recorded properly)

In Bedfordshire, a spokesman for the force today said:

"We welcome the findings of the report and will take on the recommendations to ensure we improve our crime recording rates.  However, it is worth noting that this review was from 2012/13. Since then we have put a number of measures in place and our own National Crime Recording Standards audits show we were 91 per cent compliant during September with a 92 per cent rate for violent crime and serious sexual offences.

Victims remain at the heart of all we do, so any crime being incorrectly recorded is a concern and we will do everything we can to improve the quality of our systems and processes. We already have an action plan in place using earlier feedback from HMIC inspectors and the issues raised will be added to that ongoing piece of work."

In Hertfordshire, Chief Constable Andy Bliss said:

"I am absolutely committed that Hertfordshire Constabulary records crime with integrity and accuracy as this is essential both for public confidence and ensuring that police resources are targeted in the most effective way.

We have already undertaken significant training and seen significant improvement since the HMIC carried out their inspection. We are keeping the PCC updated about developments as he continues to scrutinise and hold the Constabulary to account.

I am confident that officers and staff do not join the Constabulary intent on failing to record and investigate crime properly. Put simply, if a crime is reported we will record it.  If recorded crime goes up in the meantime, so be it!  We need to understand it in order to tackle it."

In Northamptonshire, Assistant Chief Constable Ivan Balhatchet said:

"I acknowledge that our crime recording was not as good as it could have been when we were inspected by the HMIC earlier in the year, something we are committed to improving.

A programme of work to reinforce how and when we record crime is underway, ensuring all officers and staff are aware of what is expected of them and where they can go to seek advice.  We are committed to recording crime correctly and ethically, in line with the Code of Ethics and Victims Code of Practice, and I want people in Northamptonshire to have confidence in our ability to record crimes correctly."

Police generic

Thames Valley Police say HMIC’s Crime Data Integrity report examined the extent police-recorded crime can be trusted. It set out to look at how confident the public can be in the accuracy of police-recorded crime data, how effective police leaders are in their oversight, how well victims are served by the police and whether the outcomes achieved are appropriate.

The report states the Force promotes a victim-centred approach through its policies and communication with officers and staff. Regular victim satisfaction surveys are undertaken as required nationally and the victim satisfaction level remains high at 89.1 per cent.

Thames Valley Police is above the England and Wales average for compliance for reports of crimes which are subsequently recorded as crimes, when sampled by HMIC. Additionally Thames Valley Police’s accuracy of ‘no crime’ decisions is also above the national average.

HMIC highlighted the recording of rape and other sexual offences to be a matter of serious concern on a national level in the report. However it stated all TVP officers who were spoken to have a clear understanding of the policy for dealing with reports of rape.

Reports of rape within the Thames Valley are monitored effectively which ensures correct and timely recording.

Chief Constable of Thames Valley Police, Sara Thornton, said:

"It is important that we have an accurate picture of the crime in Thames Valley so that we can prevent crime and disorder, bring offenders to justice and put our resources where they are most needed.

Nationally the report paints a mixed picture – not all Forces are recording crime accurately -and 800,000 crimes which are reported to the police are unrecorded each year.

While we recognise that there is still work to do, we are addressing areas for improvement. Overall the report is positive as it shows the police recording of crime can be trusted in the Thames Valley.

This is reflected in the fact that crime in the Force area is at its lowest for 25 years."