A watchdog has rated Cheshire police’s crime recording processes ‘inadequate’ in an official report.
Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary (HMIC) estimates that up to 11,600 crimes were not properly recorded by the force based on a sample of incidents between June and November last year – more than 8 out of 10 (83%) of crimes were found to be recorded accurately, while others were either not accurately recorded or negated altogether.
Cheshire Constabulary says it is ‘disappointed’ to have been graded ‘inadequate’, but stressed that it has thoroughly reviewed each case highlighted since receiving the HMIC report and acted to ensure the appropriate support and safeguarding measures were in place for victims.
The report did, however, recognise the progress already made in implementing HMIC’s recommendations since the last inspection, which includes the work undertaken to improve the knowledge and understanding of staff around crime recording.
HMIC was also impressed with the processes introduced for out of court disposals – those less serious crimes that can be dealt with without the need to go through the court process – including the use of independent scrutiny panels who review decisions, thus increasing transparency to the public.
Deputy Chief Constable Janette McCormick said: “We accept the findings in the report. Progress has been made but we recognise that, like many other Forces, we have more to do.
“We have already made changes in our crime-recording approach and historically also made significant financial investment in staffing in this arena.
"The safeguarding of victims is always put at the heart of Cheshire’s crime recording process, and considered throughout any subsequent investigation. All cases where HMIC inspectors highlighted some issues have been fully reviewed to ensure appropriate support has been put in place.
“While we agree that there have been some crime recording errors, this does not mean we are failing victims, nor does the report call into question the integrity of officers and staff.
"The report recognises our good leadership in respect of crime recording and in-roads have been made already in addressing the recommendations in the report.
"The constabulary will continue to look at how we do things to ensure the public receive the best possible service. But we do have some hard choices to make in this financial climate to fully remedy all of the recommendations.
“The force has been previously praised as a ‘caring’ organisation by HMIC. We are, and always will be, fundamentally victim focused, and we will ensure that the public are confident we are providing the best service possible to victims of crime.”
HMIC’s assessment of Cheshire Constabulary is part of a rolling programme to review all forces.