Despite the assurances of the chief constable and the police and crime commissioner, there is much to concern us in the report published by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary.
The crime data integrity report paints a picture of a force that has been significantly under-reporting crime figures. Let’s be clear, the report is damning in its criticism of some of the practices and procedures that have been in place within the force, which means we have no choice but to question the validity of the crime figures it has been celebrating in recent months.
The central question of this inspection is to find out to what extent police-recorded crime information can be trusted.
This is because, according to the report, accurate crime recording “underlines the police service’s commitment to public accountability, ensures that local policing bodies can match resources to the risks identified in communities and enables the police to provide a properservice to victims of crime”.
There have been serious weaknesses in police recording of crimes in our county.
And the interests of victims have not been taken seriously enough.
One long-standing member of staff says policies and practices have been about hitting targets rather than considering victims.
And, there is criticism of a “toxic combination” which acts to encourage officers not to record crime.
This is simply not good enough, because if you can’t trust the police’s own crime figures, then who can you trust?
Neil Pickford, Editor