Cambridgeshire police failed to record thousands of reported crimes - including violent and sexual offences - , it has been revealed.
In a report from the HMIC, it was revealed that 1 March 2016 to 31 August 2016 inspectors estimated more than reported 7,000 crimes were not recorded properly.
The Crime Data Integrity inspection report, published today (Thursday), saw the Cambridgeshire force given a rating of ‘requires improvement.’
The report said: “This (the 7,000 unrecorded crimes) represents a recording rate of 87.8 percent (with a confidence interval of +/- 1.66 percent). “The 12.2 percent of reported crimes that go unrecorded include serious crimes, such as sexual offences and violence. The recording rate for violent crime is of particular concern at only 80.0 percent (with a confidence interval of +/- 3.15 percent). Improvements are therefore required in these areas.
“In particular, we consider that these failures are due to an insufficient understanding of crime-recording requirements by officers and staff, compounded by limited supervision to correct these decisions at the earliest opportunity.”
However, despite the criticism, the inspectors did praise some work done by the force since the last inspection three years ago, with the setting up of a victim’s hub highlighted.
Assistant Chief Constable Dan Vajzovic acknowledged there was more work to do. He said: “As HMIC has recognised, we have made a concerted effort to improve the way we record crime accurately since their Crime Data Integrity inspection in 2014, and we continue to put the victims at the heart of our crime recording decisions.
“We have made significant progress against all of the recommendations made in the 2014 report, including introducing new crime-recording processes and establishing the Victim and Witness Hub, which provides support services to all victims of crime - but particularly those who are most vulnerable in our community.
“That said, we recognise there is still more work to do, and we have already put in place systems to ensure crime is reported at the first point of contact, either through an officer at the scene, the force control room or the police service centre (101 calls).
“We continue to look at the most appropriate timing and method of contact we have with victims, depending on both the type of crime they have suffered and their vulnerability, our use of language line to engage with victims for whom English is not their first language, and our collection of diversity data from victims of crime.
“We record in excess of 58,060 crimes every year in Cambridgeshire and HMIC has said today that more than 88% of those are recorded appropriately and properly. While it is of concern that some crimes are being recorded differently and this needs to be addressed, my focus remains firmly on protecting and safeguarding our communities.
“HMIC has recognised Cambridgeshire Constabulary as good for our accuracy in recording crime - which reassures me that we are delivering a good service to our most vulnerable victims. They have also recognised us as outstanding for our culture and leadership in crime recording - highlighting our strong governance and the standards and expectations we set for our staff and officers to get it right.
“While there were no specific recommendations made by HMIC, we continue to strive to provide the best service for the people of Cambridgeshire, we take heed of their areas of improvement and are reassured that they can see we are making good progress in the right direction.”
Cambridgeshire Police and Crime Commissioner Jason Ablewhite said: “I acknowledge that Cambridgeshire has been graded ‘requires improvement’ in the HMIC Crime Data Integrity Inspection, however, I am confident the force continues to make significant improvements to ensure we do the best we can for the people of the county.
“The report shows we have made significant strides since the inspection in 2014 – completing all of the actions required, and I am delighted they recognise the work of the Victim and Witness Hub, which is funded by my office, as good practice. Ensuring our most vulnerable people are placed at the heart of the criminal justice system is a priority for me.
“While a recording rate of 88 per cent means 12 per cent of crimes went unrecorded, and 20 per cent of violent crimes were not recorded properly is clearly not acceptable, the achievement of a ‘good’ for our accuracy in recording reassures me that we can get this right.
“With HMIC awarding an ‘outstanding’ for leadership, I am confident the improvements needed can and will be made, and together we can provide the best service possible to the people of Cambridgeshire.”