One in five violent crimes were not recorded properly by a Yorkshire police force, a watchdog’s inspector found.
Humberside Police is estimated to have failed to record more than 14,200 crimes each year – the equivalent of 14.3 per cent of all crime reported to the force.
The figure is even higher for violent crime, with an estimated 20.6 per cent not recorded.
The issue is exposed in a report published today by HM Inspectorate for Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS), which gave the force a grade of “requires improvement” based on the way it recorded reported crime between June 6 and December 6 last year.
HM Inspector of Constabulary Matt Parr said there had been “material improvements” since the last crime data integrity inspection in 2014 and senior leaders should be commended, but there was still more to be done.
“Humberside Police is failing to record a significant number of reported crimes,” he said. “The problem is particularly acute when we look at violent crimes, such as harassment and common assault. Our case file audit revealed that almost one in five violent crimes reported in Humberside goes unrecorded – some 6,200 violent crimes a year.”
Responding to the report, Deputy Chief Constable Chris Rowley said the rules around recording crime were very complex.
He said: “We know there is more for us to do and we’re determined to keep on improving, but what I want to make clear is that crime data integrity is not about the way which we investigate crime or support victims – it’s about the administrative process that sits behind this.
“Providing the best possible service for victims and protecting vulnerable people is at the heart of everything we do and we do all we can to ensure they’re safe, they know where to get the support they need and that we investigate where appropriate.”
He said the force records an average of 90,000 crimes a year – the vast majority of which were recorded correctly – but it had found an issue in some cases where further offences emerged as officers investigated.
Giving the example of investigating a reported assault, he said: “We record the incident as a crime and during our investigation, we find the offender has also sent the victim a number of malicious text messages.
“The offender is dealt with for the assault and the texts and the victim is given the support they need. However, we have not always gone back and formally recorded those secondary offences and this is what we are working to improve.”
Mr Parr said missing a crime off the books can have serious consequences, adding: “When a crime isn’t recorded, cases may not be investigated and victims can lose access to support services they are entitled to.”
But he acknowledged that the force had taken immediate action to address concerns by redesigning its communications recording, increasing the oversight of crime recording and improving its training.
Mr Rowley added: “The work we had done in this area prior to the inspection is already having a positive impact.
“We are one of the best forces in the country when it comes to recording sexual offences and we are working hard to replicate this success across everything we deal with.”