Lincolnshire Police has failed to properly record 1 in 5 crimes reported to it, according to a newly released assessment by policing inspectors.
Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) has this week published its report on a recent inspection of the accuracy of crime recording in Lincolnshire and has judged Lincolnshire Police as ‘inadequate’.
HM Inspector of Constabulary Zoe Billingham said: “It is of very great concern to me that Lincolnshire Police is failing to record almost one in five crimes reported to it.
“This inspection revealed unacceptable failings in the force’s recording practices.
“I am encouraged however by the fact that the force took steps immediately to address our concerns.
“This included adopting a more rigorous auditing process, and simplifying the way in which crimes are recorded when reported from other agencies such as health and education.
“We estimate the force fails to record 9,400 reported crimes each year, including reports concerning vulnerable victims, victims of crimes of a sexual nature and of violence.
“Although safeguarding measures were in place for many of the victims of crimes, there was little evidence of investigations being undertaken where the crime had not made it on to the books.
“This is particularly true for cases of domestic abuse.
“This meant that some officers may have approached a situation without knowing a past history of violence in a household.
“It was believed that this was not down to any official instruction to suppress crime reporting.”
Ms Billingham continued: “I am disappointed to find that almost a quarter of reported violent crimes are not properly recorded. This is of serious concern as it can prevent victims receiving the support they need and deserve, and prevent offenders being brought to justice.
“The importance of correctly recording crime cannot be overlooked, or simply passed off as a bureaucratic measure.
“If a force does not correctly record crime it cannot properly understand the demand on its services, nor provide support to those who need it most. We have made a number of recommendations to help the force improve.
“Lincolnshire Police has changed processes to record crimes disclosed by victims within 24 hours.
“The introduction of increased scrutiny around crime-recording decisions and improvements to training for specialist staff are another positive step, but there is more work to do.
“I am confident that under the strong leadership of the chief and deputy chief constable, the force’s comprehensive action plan will lead to real improvements.”
The inspectors may return to Lincolnshire Police in 2019 to assess how effectively it has responded to the recommendations. Police chiefs in Lincolnshire have vowed to resolve issues surrounding crime recording in the wake of the concerns.
Deputy Chief Constable Craig Naylor insisted errors in the force systems did not affect the service to victims or the pursuit of offenders.
DCC Naylor said the report could give the impression that some crime is going unreported and unnoticed by the force but that, in fact, it was not recorded in the correct manner.
He said:“We are deeply disappointed by this report and absolutely committed to ensuring we resolve the problem quickly and effectively.
“We have made mistakes and we will not shirk from accepting and correcting them.
“We recognised last year that we needed to improve our crime recording processes and have put measures in place since this inspection.
“I am determined to ensure that our systems and processes match the high standards our force delivers to victims.
• Visit our website to read DCC Naylor’s full statement.