Watchdog criticises the number of incidents wrongly dismissed by police
Fresh doubts have been raised about the reliability of crime figures, after it emerged offences including rape and robbery were wrongly written off as “no crimes” by West Yorkshire Police.
Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) has published a damning report which says that too many incidents are being dealt with out of court or disregarded by officers who want to avoid extra work.
The police watchdog looked at a small sample of offences reported to the force between November 2012 and October 2013.
Of the 260 they examined, 221 should have been classed as crimes, although police had only pursued 150 of them.
There was particular concern about the number of rape offences that were discounted over the 12 month period.
Of the 35 incidents which were marked down as “no crimes”, 23 should have in fact been recorded as offences. HMIC said this was “unacceptable.”
The report makes several recommendations and suggests that the force should adopt an “ethical approach” when deciding which crimes should be marked down – rather than taking performance figures into consideration.
A spokeswoman for the West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner said some of the findings were “clearly a cause for concern.”
“The PCC needs to be assured that crimes are being recorded, categorised correctly and that a reduction in crime is truly a reduction and is not down to recording practices,” she said.
Forces around the country have faced similar criticism, with particular concern about the number of crimes being dismissed in the three largest constabularies – the Metropolitan Police, Greater Manchester and West Midlands.
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