Watchdog action call over ‘inconsistent’ way crimes are recorded

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The police watchdog has demanded improvements after an investigation found “inconsistencies” in the way crimes and incidents in Yorkshire are recorded.

Inspectors said forces’ recording of offences including violent crime and robberies had given them “some cause for concern”.

The problem came to light during a review by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC), designed to assure the public that they are getting accurate crime information from the police.

HMIC looked at a small number of cases recorded by each of the 43 local forces in England and Wales, as well as British Transport Police, and discovered a “wide variation” in accuracy.

It found that South Yorkshire Police made the right decision in only 87 per cent of incidents, while the country’s best-performing force, Cheshire Police, had a 100 per cent record.

North Yorkshire and West Yorkshire both scored 90 per cent while Humberside Police was adjudged to have acted correctly in 89 per cent of cases. Inspectors found “inconsistencies” in how well South Yorkshire staff took an accurate account of the sequence of events described by victims reporting crime.

Senior officers in West Yorkshire also came in for criticism, with the watchdog concluding that they had “uncertain plans, policies and strategies” to secure quality data for crimes and other incidents.

HM Assistant Inspector of Constabulary, Vic Towell, said: “The findings are indicative and provide assurance that the crime figures published by their police forces are being probed.

“Whilst the majority do well, the variation between the best and worst remains too wide and needs to improve.”

South Yorkshire’s temporary Assistant Chief Constable, Bob Sanderson, said: “We accept there is more work to do but the report demonstrates that we have a very sound base of strong crime and incident data management.”

A spokesman for West Yorkshire Police said: “We note the areas for improvement identified by HMIC, but any investment of extra resources in these administrative processes must be balanced with our desire to preserve the frontline services we offer to the public.”