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Police: Accuracy of Kent Police crime recording slips with 24,300 crimes not making it onto the books

Contributed by editor on Jun 18, 2017 - 08:17 PM

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Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) has published an assessment on the accuracy of crime recording in Kent Police, which found that the force logs around 84 percent of crimes reported to it.

 



HMIC previously inspected the accuracy of crime recording in Kent Police in 2014.

To assess the extent that recorded crime information in Kent Police can be trusted, HMIC asked:

- How effective is the force at recording reported crime?
- How efficiently do the systems and processes in the force support accurate crime-recording?
- How well does the force demonstrate the leadership and culture necessary to meet the national standards for crime-recording?
Based on these criteria, overall HMIC has judged Kent Police as ‘inadequate’.

HM Inspector of Constabulary Zoë Billingham said: “I am disappointed that the quality of crime recording in Kent Police has slipped significantly since we gave the force a clean bill of health three years ago.

"At the time of our most recent inspection, about 1 in 6 crimes in Kent were not making it onto the books – that equates to approximately 24,300 crimes a year. This means that on far too many occasions crimes are not being properly investigated and victims of crime are being failed.

“The force had taken its eye off the ball as a result of poor supervision of crime-recording decisions and inconsistencies in its own auditing system that
was giving it ‘false positive’ results. In other words, the force thought it was still doing the right thing whereas in reality its crime recording standards were slipping and this was not being detected though its own checking mechanisms.

“Too often the correct crime-recording decisions were not being made at the first opportunity. We found that some rapes and other sexual offences including domestic abuse crimes and crimes were being actively investigated but had not been properly recorded.

“Since our inspection in March 2017 I have been in close contact with Kent Police and I am encouraged by the immediate steps that the force has taken to rectify the situation.
"It has appointed a new head of crime recording and investigative standards, as well as increasing staff in its audit unit. I am told, by the force, that its levels of crime recording accuracy have been restored to close to those we found three years ago.

"HMIC will be returning to reinspect Kent Police in the near future to confirm, independently, that this is the case.”

Chief Constable of Kent Alan Pughsley said: "Kent Police’s Crime Data Integrity Report makes for disappointing reading, however we accept its findings and have responded quickly to them to make the changes we need to improve the accuracy of our crime recording.

"There are a number of instances where although we have not recorded a crime, we have responded to the victim’s needs, conducted an effective investigation and provided safeguarding to the victims.

"All of those crimes that were not recorded have been thoroughly reviewed and safeguarding has been put in place.

"I want to be clear that victims are always at the heart of what we do – something that Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary recognised in its findings. Our officers and staff approach crime recording in a positive and ethical way and we have no desire to under-record crime. '

"'I would like to apologise to any victim who has not received the service they were entitled to.

"However, on reviewing the recording decisions from this last year, it is apparent there have been administrative errors in the way we have been recording crime which has not been in line with the guidelines.

"We have now identified this and are working closely with HMIC to ensure all of the issues that led to those crimes not being recorded in the last year are reviewed so that our accuracy level increases. Extensive training is underway for the most up to date criteria in decision making around recording crime.

"Since the inspection, we have worked hard with HMIC to improve our crime data integrity, not just for the last year, but going forward, and will not rest until we are satisfied it is the best it can be."


View the report - Kent Police: Crime Data Integrity inspection 2017
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