RECORDING of sexual offences and assaults on vulnerable adults is a ‘significant cause for concern’ across West Mercia and Warwickshire.
An inspection of the way crimes are recorded across the force areas looked at 50 referrals and found of the 18 which should have been recorded as a crime, only ten had been.
The findings were revealed in a report from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) as part of a crime data inspection across England and Wales.
Inspectors said: “As some of these records related to sexual offences and assaults on vulnerable adults, this is a significant cause for concern and is a matter of material and urgent importance.”
Other problems highlighted in the report released on Tuesday (November 18) included only 66 no-crimes – those initially recorded as not being a crime and then found to be when new information comes to light – out of 77 were logged correctly. The 11 which were incorrect related to offences of rape, robbery and violence.
Of 130 reports made directly by members of the public, a total of 100 crimes should have been recorded but only 74 were, with three wrongly classified and one recorded outside the 72-hour limit allowed by regulations.
“This is of serious concern as it means that some victims’ crimes are not being recorded and that these victims are not receiving the service they deserve.” the report said.
In response, Assistant Chief Constable Amanda Blakeman said the forces had a ‘strong desire to improve and to put the victim at the heart’ of what they did.
Many of the recommendations contained in the report had already been implemented including further training being provided to officers and staff involved in making no-crime decisions and all referrals about sexual offences and assaults on vulnerable adults were recorded on their electronic crime recording system which was subject to regular internal scrutiny.
“The HMIC Review acknowledged we do a lot right too. For example the force encourages a victim-centric approach even if this means an increase in the volume of recorded crime.” she added.
“We are in no way complacent and there are still areas we need to work on to improve. For example an audit schedule will be implemented shortly to pick up where ‘no-crimes’ have been incorrectly recorded by officers.
“Whilst in general HMIC found when in doubt officers tended to record a crime rather than a no-crime, there is more work to be done to develop appropriate performance measures for officers who continually get this process wrong.”