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Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Police force failed to record crimes including sexual abuse and rape, watchdog

Written by Margaret Davis

Police in Lincolnshire are failing to record thousands of crimes including sexual offences, grievous bodily harm and rape.

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.

Deputy Chief Constable Craig Naylor said measures had already been put in place to improve recording, and insisted the force's "service has not slipped".

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 less 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."

Some unrecorded crimes included domestic abuse, although the inspectorate acknowledged that steps had been taken to safeguard victims "on nearly every occasion".

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.

"We note that the deputy chief constable, responsible for crime recording, has taken positive action since his arrival.

"The force has been actively attempting to progress improvements in crime recording, and had the true degree of crime recording accuracy been known, those improvements would have been carried out with greater urgency."

Mr Naylor said he has confidence in the force the service provides.

"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.

"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 standards our force delivers to victims.

"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.

In a separate report, Humberside was graded as "requires improvement" for recording reported crime.

Looking at June 6 to December 6 2017, the watchdog estimated that the force failed to record more than 14,200 crimes each year, 14.3% of the total reported.

These included sexual offences, public order and violence offences.

The recording rate for violent crime was also singled out, with 79.4% of reported crime being recorded.

The Metropolitan Police was rated as good.

It failed to record more than 94,500 crimes each year, around 10.5% of the total reported.

These were mainly public order crimes and low-level assaults where there was no injury to a victim.

For violent crime, 87.6% of offences reported to the force were recorded.

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2018, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) PA Wire.