Local police have been found “inadequate” in the way they record crimes because hundreds of reported incidents are simply not being dealt with.
A official inspection of Thames Valley Police found the force’s overall crime recording rate was 87.9% - which means more than 12 per cent of reported incidents are not recorded as criminal offences by police.
Some 90 of these offences that prompted no further action related to domestic abuse, most of them involving violence.
The allegations included common assault, stalking, harassment, malicious communications and coercive and controlling behaviour, say inspectors from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS)
In a report published this week they highlighted a distressing case study where a victim was suicidal because she was being forced into a marriage..
The inspectors’ report said: “She reported that she was being subject to a forced marriage. To facilitate this, relatives were controlling all aspects of her life including travel and access to documents. The victim was extremely distressed by this behaviour and had attempted suicide the previous day
“Police did not attend. Nor did they record any offences or provide information to suggest a crime did not occur. The force did not identify safeguarding opportunities or carry out an investigation.”
The inspection also found reports of violence against the person had one of the lowest recording rates of 79.4%.
The report stated: “Victims of violence and serious violence often need a lot of support. In these circumstances, crime recording is even more important. If the force fails to record a violent crime properly, it can mean victims aren’t referred to Victims First. This deprives victims of the support they need and deserve.”
95.3% of reported sex offences were recorded and 126 of 138 audited rape reports were recorded. Of the Of the 12 unrecorded rape reports, five were “misclassified “as other offences and seven were not recorded at all.
Just four of out every seven “vulnerable victim” crimes were recorded – some of them against children.
These offences included sexual activity with a child under 13, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, and injury caused by a dangerous dog.
The report stated: “All these cases involved professional third-party reports and should have been recorded as soon as they were reported. Because the assault case was written off as an accident, there was no safeguarding or subsequent investigation
The inspectors found “no clear evidence” to explain why the force was not recording so many reported incidents as crimes.
But they found the force had “made some progress” since the previous inspection in 2017, when they were also ruled inadequate.
The report stated: “ But it now needs to work more quickly to address the outstanding causes of concern and areas for improvement identified in this and our previous report. We are confident the leadership and governance arrangements that it now has will enable it to do so.”
THE THAMES VALLEY POLICE REPORT IN FULL
Deputy Chief Constable Jason Hogg said Thames Valley Police fully accepts the grading by HMICFRS.
He said: “We recognise that listening to victims and recording reported crimes is the first step in providing a satisfactory service and underpins the quality of our investigations. The grading by HMICFRS of our crime data integrity falls far below the standards that we set ourselves or that the public rightly expect from us.
“We welcome the audit findings that:
Implementation of crime recording at the first point of contact has significantly improved our overall crime recording.
We have made changes to address gaps in our processes and systems
We have improved our recording rates:
All reported crime – recording rate now 87.9% (was 80.4%)
Violent crime – recording rate is up over 10% to 79%
Sexual offences – recording rate is up to 95%
Mr Hogg added: “HMICFRS have noted our determination to get crime recording right, that they are encouraged by the improvement that they found and that whilst there is still a way to go, that we are on the right track.
“Despite significant improvements we acknowledge that we have not progressed as far or as fast as we would have wished to.
“We have worked hard since HMICFRS published their last report and will continue to work to ensure that the improvements we make are sustainable.”
“Last year we responded to over half a million calls for assistance; that is over 1,400 incidents a day and every day the members of this force come to work to fulfil only one purpose, and that is to keep the communities of Thames Valley safe from harm."