POLICE in Cheshire wrongly recorded 29 incidents of rape, violence or robbery as ‘no-crimes’ in a 12 month period, a report reveals.
Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) analysed 71 decisions not to record a crime between November 1, 2012 and October 31, 2013, and found just 42 were “correct”.
The watchdog has instructed the force to carry out a review of cases of rape it recorded as ‘no crimes’ “without undue delay”.
Its crime data integrity report states: “[This is] to ensure any incorrect no-crime decisions are re-recorded, the victim provided with the level of service they should expect and where possible offenders brought to justice.”
The document does not disclose how many of the 29 wrongly classified incidents relate to allegations of rape.
HMIC also took a sample of 96 incident reports from 2012/13, finding of 90 crimes that should have been recorded, Cheshire Constabulary only recorded 62.
All incidents reported to police forces by members of the public, officers, and employees of other agencies, such as social services, must be correctly recorded in accordance with national guidelines.
The constabulary has been given “recommendations” to improve its procedures.
Police and Crime Commissioner for Cheshire, John Dwyer, has vowed to ensure improvements are made and to make sure “victims are at the heart of policing”.
“I will hold the Chief Constable to account for implementing the recommendations contained in the report to ensure compliance with national standards and to promote a victim-centred approach to crime recording,” he said.
The force has stressed HMIC’s recommendations “focus on a limited number of the 1,200 crime classifications used by the Home Office to categorise crime and refer to some of the administrative processes around those crime types”.
But it has confirmed a review has been undertaken of crimes classed incorrectly and processes have been amended to ensure crimes are recorded
in line with national requirements.
Assistant Chief Constable Guy Hindle said: “Following an internal review, Cheshire Constabulary has already taken action to address some of the main recommendations highlighted within the report.
“We are confident our crime recording in areas such as burglary and vehicle crime is robust and in accordance with the national recommendations.
“However, we recognise there may have been issues in the administration of certain types of crime, specifically violence and sexual offences where the details of the crime can often be complex which can make the recording of the crime complicated.
“Having had the issues highlighted by HMIC we have undergone a review of the crimes incorrectly classified to ensure thorough investigations have taken place and their classifications have now been changed.
“It is important to stress HMIC questioned the administration process of recording the crimes at fault, not the investigations into them.
“This is not about the constabulary misleading members of the public or failing to effectively support victims, but is about how Cheshire Constabulary categorises different types of crimes and how it is recorded under the national crime recording standards.”
HMIC has been carrying out inspections into the way all 43 police forces in England and Wales record crime data.