Police not recording one in five crimes, claims watchdog
One report of rape not recorded due to 'workload pressure', while poor supervision also blamed
AROUND one in five criminal offences are not recorded by police, according to research from Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary.
The police watchdog has raised "serious concerns" about the quality of crime data gathered by forces in England and Wales, with some serious offences – including burglary, violent crimes and at least 14 instances of rape – going unrecorded.
Reasons for these police failures included poor knowledge of the rules, inadequate training and poor supervision, while one report of rape was not recorded because of "workload pressure".
The interim report, published today, suggests some of the incidents are deliberate. It notes that it is "difficult to conclude that none of these failures was the result of discreditable or unethical behaviour" as the "failure rate is too high".
Home Office ministers have insisted that the recent fall in crime shows police effectiveness despite government reductions to force budgets – cuts that many officers have rallied against.
But today's conclusions "threaten to undermine the decline in crime to historic lows" under the Coalition, says the Financial Times.
Home Secretary Theresa May said the report exposed "unacceptable failings" by the police and admitted that once HMIC has made its recommendations on crime data there could be an increase in recorded crime.
"If that increase is driven by improved accuracy in the recording of crime or more victims reporting crime to the police, we should welcome it," she said.
Metropolitan Police officer James Patrick has claimed he was forced to resign from the force after raising similar concerns. He says that the practice of officers massaging crime statistics to keep figures low is "common knowledge at every level in every force within England and Wales".
Following his claims last year, the UK Statistics Authority ruled in January that police-recorded crime data no longer met the necessary standards to be recognised as an official statistic.
HMIC has only inspected 13 of 43 forces so far, but this covers 60 per cent of crimes as it included two of the largest forces, the Metropolitan Police and Great Manchester Police.