Lincolnshire Police has been told it must immediately address failures in crime recording processes as the force was rated ‘Inadequate’ by inspectors.
HMICFRS (Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services) said, based on its examination of crime reports between June and November 2017, the force fails to record over 9,400 reported crimes each year.
This included, in some cases, serious crimes such as rape, grievous bodily harm and malicious communications.
Police chiefs said they are ‘disappointed’ in the report and disputed inspectors’ summary of some crime recording methods.
The findings for each area of the Crime Data Integrity inspection 2018 were:
- “Overall judgement – Inadequate
- How effective is the force at recording reported crime? – Inadequate
- 140 reports of sex offences a year not recorded
- 99 of 123 audited rape reports were accurately recorded
- Over 3,200 reports of violent crime a year not recorded
- How efficiently do the systems and processes in the force support accurate crime recording? – Inadequate
- 7 out of 28 vulnerable victim crimes recorded
- How well does the force demonstrate the leadership and culture necessary to meet the national standards for crime reporting? – Good“
HM Inspector of Constabulary Zoë 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.
“This inspection revealed unacceptable failings in the force’s recording practices. I am encouraged however by the fact that the force took steps immediately to address our concerns.
“This included adopting a more rigorous auditing process, and simplifying the way in which crimes are recorded when reported from other agencies such as health and education.
“We estimate the force fails to record 9,400 reported crimes each year, including reports concerning vulnerable victims, victims of crimes of a sexual nature and of violence.
“Although safeguarding measures were in place for many of the victims of crimes, 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.”
She added: “We may return to Lincolnshire Police in 2019 to assess how effectively it has responded to our recommendations.”
Lincolnshire Police strongly denied the claim that investigations were not undertaken as a result of their practice.
Deputy Chief Constable Craig Naylor told Lincolnshire Reporter:
“There are no ‘missed’ victims or offenders – what we have missed in the correct procedure for recording them.”
“Many of the cases referred to by inspectors relate to on-going enquiries where a victim or a witness has reported historical incidents.
“For instance an officer interviewing the victim of domestic abuse may report similar incident stretching back years. In such cases the force were recording the incidents in a way that did not meet Home Office Counting Rules.
“We have made mistakes and we will not shirk from accepting or correcting them.
“We recognised last year that we needed to improve our crime recording processes and have put measures in place since this inspection.
“I am determined to ensure that our systems and processes match the high standard our force delivered to victims.”
Humberside Police’s Crime Data Integrity inspection report was also published on Tuesday, July 17.
The force was given a rating of ‘Requires Improvement’ overall and outstanding for leadership.
- “Overall judgement – Requires Improvement
- How effective is the force at recording crime? – Requires Improvement
- 170 reports of sex offences a year not recorded
- 59 of 67 audited rape reports were accurately recorded
- Over 6,200 reports of violent crime a year not recorded
- How efficiently do the systems and processes in the force support accurate crime recording? – Requires Improvement
- 37 out of 49 vulnerable victim crimes recorded
- How well does the force demonstrate the leadership and culture necessary to meet the national standards for crime reporting? – Outstanding“
HM Inspector of Constabulary Matt Parr said: “I am pleased to report that Humberside Police has made good progress since our last crime data integrity inspection.
“It has implemented all the recommendations we made in 2014, and we have seen material improvements in its crime recording practice as a result.
“I commend the force’s senior leaders for the outstanding work they have done to establish a culture where the value of accurate crime recording is understood by all.
“However, our inspection showed that there is still room for improvement. Humberside Police is failing to record a significant number of reported crimes. We estimate that the force fails to record around 14,200 reported crimes each year.
“The problem is particularly acute when we look at violent crimes, such as harassment and common assault. Our case file audit revealed that almost one in five violent crimes reported in Humberside goes unrecorded – some 6,200 violent crimes a year.”