Police failing to record more than 8,000 crimes a year, report finds

An officer was bitten so badly he needed hospital treatment. Picture: Ian Burt

An officer was bitten so badly he needed hospital treatment. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Archant

Police are failing to record an estimated 8,700 crimes a year, including incidents of stalking and coercive and controlling behaviour, a new report has found.

Paul Sanford, Norfolk's deputy chief constable. PIC: Supplied by Norfolk Police.

Paul Sanford, Norfolk's deputy chief constable. PIC: Supplied by Norfolk Police. - Credit: Archant

Norfolk police has been told it must improve how accurately it records crimes, after inspectors found the force is only recording 87.5pc of all crimes reported to it.

Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) made the findings during an inspection into how accurately Norfolk police record crime.

Inspectors found that while the constabulary has improved how it records crime since it was last inspected in 2014, the force is still failing to record enough of the incidents reported to it.

Inspectors found not enough crimes were being recorded within 24 hours, reports received from third parties were not being appropriately recorded and the force was failing to collect enough diversity information.

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They also discovered that victims were not always informed if their report of a crime was cancelled or transferred to another force.

Zoë Billingham, HM inspector of constabulary, said: "[Norfolk Constabulary] has made a concerted effort to improve its accuracy, and has implemented all the recommendations we made as a result of our previous inspection.

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"Despite these improvements, however, the force is still not recording crime as accurately as it should be.

"In particular I am concerned about a lack of understanding amongst some officers and staff around the rules for recording crimes such as harassment, stalking and coercive and controlling behaviour."

Deputy chief constable of Norfolk Constabulary Paul Sanford said Norfolk Constabulary welcomed the latest HMICFRS report.

He said: "The report is clear that the whole constabulary is committed to recording crime accurately and in the best interests of victims."

Mr Sanford said it was important to note the report concerned the accuracy of how crimes were recorded and not how incidents were investigated.

"Nonetheless the report correctly finds that we have further improvements to make to improve the accuracy of our crime recording and we accept the recommendations of HMICFRS and have already started to recruit more staff to undertake auditing work. The accuracy of our crime recording will only improve if we do this.

"It is also the case that our recent rapid recruitment has inevitably led to a young and inexperienced workforce, so we are currently training all frontline staff to improve standards. Crime recording rules are incredibly complex and it will take some time for our workforce to reach the required level of understanding," he said.

In Suffolk Constabulary, it was a similar picture. The inspectorate said issues with understanding crime recording rules had not been fully addressed since being identified in 2014, despite a concerted effort to improve data integrity.

And the constabulary's 91pc rate for recording reported crime was described as "inadequate". It equated to 5,300 total crimes, including 3,600 violent offences, going unrecorded.

In many cases, it said, victims were deprived of services and offenders not brought to justice.

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