‘Unacceptable failings’ in Lincolnshire Police’s crime recording practices

The Scales of Jutice, Old Bailey- By James Cridland via Flickr

‘Unacceptable failings’ in Lincolnshire Police’s crime recording practices

Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) has today published an assessment on the accuracy of crime recording in Lincolnshire Police, which found that the force records around 80 percent of crimes reported to it.

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Lincolnshire Police: Crime Data Integrity inspection 2018

HMICFRS previously inspected the accuracy of crime recording in Lincolnshire Police in 2014. For this latest inspection, HMICFRS has judged Lincolnshire Police’s crime recording as ‘inadequate’.

HM Inspector of Constabulary Zoë Billingham said:

“It is of very great concern to me that Lincolnshire Police is failing to record almost one in five crimes reported to it.

“This inspection revealed unacceptable failings in the force’s recording practices. I am encouraged however by the fact that the force took steps immediately to address our concerns. This included adopting a more rigorous auditing process, and simplifying the way in which crimes are recorded when reported from other agencies such as health and education.

“We estimate the force fails to record 9,400 reported crimes each year, including reports concerning vulnerable victims, victims of crimes of a sexual nature and of violence.

“Although safeguarding measures were in place for many of the victims of crimes, there was little evidence of investigations being undertaken where the crime had not made it on to the books. This is particularly true for cases of domestic abuse.

“I am disappointed to find that almost a quarter of reported violent crimes are not properly recorded. This is of serious concern as it can prevent victims receiving the support they need and deserve, and prevent offenders being brought to justice.

“The importance of correctly recording crime cannot be overlooked, or simply passed off as a bureaucratic measure. If a force does not correctly record crime it cannot properly understand the demand on its services, nor provide support to those who need it most.

“We have made a number of recommendations to help the force improve.

“Lincolnshire Police has changed processes to record crimes disclosed by victims within 24 hours. The introduction of increased scrutiny around crime-recording decisions and improvements to training for specialist staff are another positive step, but there is more work to do.

“I am confident that under the strong leadership of the chief and deputy chief constable, the force’s comprehensive action plan will lead to real improvements.

“We may return to Lincolnshire Police in 2019 to assess how effectively it has responded to our recommendations.”

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Lincolnshire Police: Crime Data Integrity inspection 2018

Notes to editors

  1. HMICFRS is an independent inspectorate, inspecting policing to promote improvements in policing that make everyone safer, and assesses and reports on the efficiency and effectiveness of police forces to tackle crime and terrorism, improve criminal justice and raise confidence.
  2. On 19 July 2017 HMIC took on responsibility for fire & rescue service inspections and was renamed HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services.
  3. HMICFRS inspects all 43 police forces in England and Wales together with other major policing and law enforcement bodies.
  4. HMICFRS is unable to make direct comparisons with the 2014 inspection due to a change in the methodology used. In particular, the 2014 inspection was a dip-sample of records in each force which contributed to a statistically robust rate for crime-recording accuracy for England and Wales, whereas this inspection is working to a statistically robust standard within each force.
  5. Further information on how Lincolnshire Police is performing can be found on the HMICFRS online assessment tool.
  6. For further information, HMICFRS’s press office can be contacted during office hours from 8:30am – 5:00pm Monday – Friday on 020 3513 0600.
  7. HMICFRS’s out-of-hours press office line for urgent media enquiries is 07836 217729.