Gwent Police ‘did not record all crimes in line with rules’

South Wales Argus: GAVE ULTIMATUM: Gwent Police and Crime Commissioner Ian Johnston GAVE ULTIMATUM: Gwent Police and Crime Commissioner Ian Johnston

A GWENT Police internal review has uncovered evidence that officers did not record all crimes in line with Home Office rules.

However, the review couldn’t find a widespread desire not to record incidents as crimes, despite the fact force targets were flagged up on all force computers.

A report to Friday’s Gwent Police and Crime Panel meeting said the potential impact on recorded crime could be between four to eight per cent additional crimes per year.

Earlier this year the Argus revealed that Police and Crime Commissioner Ian Johnston gave former Chief Constable Carmel Napier an ultimatum to retire or face proceedings to remove her from her post following a public row over crime figures.

The PCC had suggested in an interview with the Argus that some statistics were incorrectly recorded.

Mrs Napier’s replacement, Jeff Farrar, commissioned the review when he was temporary chief constable.

Some 50 logs of incidents from the first 10 days of July 2013 were chosen for review – and where possible the victim was visited.

The report said: “There was no evidence of widespread or overt desire not to record incidents as crimes. However, there was evidence to show that officers had not recorded all crimes in line with the relevant Home Office counting rules. The reasons for this primarily revolved around misinterpretations of the rules as well as a desire to support the wishes of the victim.”

The discreet sample size and period covered “make any realistic assessment” of the impact on recorded crime “of limited value” and that “if a different period of time was chosen the variation could be greater or lesser.”

But the report adds that “it was the team’s professional view to reflect the differential as between four per cent and eight per cent additional crimes per year”.

The report shows how force objectives to reach “top 10 status” by 2014-15 were converted into a series of dials that were updated daily and displayed on the opening screen on all force computers.

Officers were aware of force objectives and the fact that the number of crimes were recorded in a given 24-hour period was reported at daily force management meetings.

But the review said there was no evidence “that this overt, high-level interest impacted on officers’ decision making.”

A spokesman for Gwent Police said Chief Constable Farrar previously made it “unequivocally clear to everyone working for Gwent Police that ethical and accurate crime recording is essential”.

Gwent Police said since the review had concluded a training programme had been put in place for all relevant staff, among other measures.

Nick Smith, the MP for Blaenau Gwent who called for an external audit into crime statistics, said that an estimated four to eight per cent additional crimes each year “is not an insignificant number”.

He said the situation involving Mrs Napier couldn’t be ignored: “The report repeatedly refutes any claims that the targets caused pressure to under-report crimes or in any way fiddle the numbers.

“At this stage, there is still no proof of the accusations levied at Ms Napier – and it just poses more questions about her departure.”

Mr Johnston said under Mr Farrar’s leadership “numerical targets have been removed and he has provided strong direction to the force on the importance of public confidence and the links to crime recording.

“Gwent will be the subject of an independent inspection by HMIC as part of a national programme.

“I will continue to monitor the situation very closely to ensure the people of Gwent have the best service possible.”

Comments (13)

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11:23am Wed 11 Dec 13

Frankfurt says...

This report exonerates Chief Napier of any attempt to falsify crime figures I believe.
This report exonerates Chief Napier of any attempt to falsify crime figures I believe. Frankfurt

11:55am Wed 11 Dec 13

Jonnytrouble says...

Well SOMEBODY ( OR BODY'S ) was VERY nawty then and GOT found out ?
EITHER through SHEAR LAZINESS or Too many crimes to handle for 'one person due to cut backs ' to be logged ?or keep the CRIME figures low to look good on the force ?
Makes me think if WE the ' COUNCIL TAX ' payers for GWENT police will ever NO the truth ?
Well SOMEBODY ( OR BODY'S ) was VERY nawty then and GOT found out ? EITHER through SHEAR LAZINESS or Too many crimes to handle for 'one person due to cut backs ' to be logged ?or keep the CRIME figures low to look good on the force ? Makes me think if WE the ' COUNCIL TAX ' payers for GWENT police will ever NO the truth ? Jonnytrouble

12:39pm Wed 11 Dec 13

Dave on his Soapbox says...

…when are politicians and senior managers going to realise/accept….th
at there are ‘lies, damned lies, and statistics’…..an
d that they never provide a true picture of how an organisation is performing…..as everyone in that organisation….be it police….schools…
hospitals….will work ‘the system’ to return the stats that show they are doing well.

It’s human nature to work to the targets that have been set….as fear of losing your job or not getting a bonus etc……drives bad working practices in all areas of work……both public and private.

If we got rid of the ‘bean counters’ (statisticians) there would be more money to run these services properly……and senior managers wouldn’t be continually changing things in order to hit the targets and safeguard their jobs…..
…when are politicians and senior managers going to realise/accept….th at there are ‘lies, damned lies, and statistics’…..an d that they never provide a true picture of how an organisation is performing…..as everyone in that organisation….be it police….schools… hospitals….will work ‘the system’ to return the stats that show they are doing well. It’s human nature to work to the targets that have been set….as fear of losing your job or not getting a bonus etc……drives bad working practices in all areas of work……both public and private. If we got rid of the ‘bean counters’ (statisticians) there would be more money to run these services properly……and senior managers wouldn’t be continually changing things in order to hit the targets and safeguard their jobs….. Dave on his Soapbox

2:17pm Wed 11 Dec 13

Trefor says...

Let`s give the Commissioner, Ian Johnston, some `space` on these issues, after all, it was under his watch these issues have been identified, and, hopefully regularised for the future.

What has happened has happened, any repeat of manipulating crime figures in Gwent will result in the Commissioner answering to the electorate for it, it is in no bodies further interest to record anything but the `truth` on crime and disorder offences in Gwent, and Ian Johnston has seen to that, lets wait and see how the new Chief Constable, his close working colleagues, and, the INDEPENDENT Police and Crime Commissioner, all working together, to ensure that all the proper checks and balances are followed and we are given factual and honest crime figures for our communities.
Let`s give the Commissioner, Ian Johnston, some `space` on these issues, after all, it was under his watch these issues have been identified, and, hopefully regularised for the future. What has happened has happened, any repeat of manipulating crime figures in Gwent will result in the Commissioner answering to the electorate for it, it is in no bodies further interest to record anything but the `truth` on crime and disorder offences in Gwent, and Ian Johnston has seen to that, lets wait and see how the new Chief Constable, his close working colleagues, and, the INDEPENDENT Police and Crime Commissioner, all working together, to ensure that all the proper checks and balances are followed and we are given factual and honest crime figures for our communities. Trefor

3:28pm Wed 11 Dec 13

merlin the silure says...

it was'nt me offficer,honest!
it was'nt me offficer,honest! merlin the silure

3:34pm Wed 11 Dec 13

blackandamber says...

What has rules got to do with it write and tell the truth at all times.
What has rules got to do with it write and tell the truth at all times. blackandamber

3:40pm Wed 11 Dec 13

_Bryan_ says...

"25 out of 50 incidents were not recorded correctly"

Although that's a very small sample, it does suggest that half of all crimes have been recorded incorrectly. I don't see any information on how significant this failure is, for example are crimes still being recorded but under a different title - for example a mugging could be a robbery or assault - or are they being recorded as "non-crimes"
"25 out of 50 incidents were not recorded correctly" Although that's a very small sample, it does suggest that half of all crimes have been recorded incorrectly. I don't see any information on how significant this failure is, for example are crimes still being recorded but under a different title - for example a mugging could be a robbery or assault - or are they being recorded as "non-crimes" _Bryan_

3:53pm Wed 11 Dec 13

Bobevans says...

There is clearly evidence of widespread failure to record crimes properly. Whether this was deliberate or through incompetence I not yet clear. Either way it is not good. Of a sample of 50 crimes25 were not recorded properly. They appear not to have clarified what they mean by that which leaves a lot of questions unanswered

http://www.telegraph
.co.uk/news/uknews/c
rime/10511207/Gwent-
police-which-boasted
-largest-fall-in-cri
me-failed-to-report-
dozens-of-incidents.
html
There is clearly evidence of widespread failure to record crimes properly. Whether this was deliberate or through incompetence I not yet clear. Either way it is not good. Of a sample of 50 crimes25 were not recorded properly. They appear not to have clarified what they mean by that which leaves a lot of questions unanswered http://www.telegraph .co.uk/news/uknews/c rime/10511207/Gwent- police-which-boasted -largest-fall-in-cri me-failed-to-report- dozens-of-incidents. html Bobevans

3:55pm Wed 11 Dec 13

Bobevans says...

Frankfurt wrote:
This report exonerates Chief Napier of any attempt to falsify crime figures I believe.
Well no. That question has not been answered yet. It clearly shows a level of of very poor management
[quote][p][bold]Frankfurt[/bold] wrote: This report exonerates Chief Napier of any attempt to falsify crime figures I believe.[/p][/quote]Well no. That question has not been answered yet. It clearly shows a level of of very poor management Bobevans

5:05pm Wed 11 Dec 13

KarloMarko says...

I think Johnston will find that the public's "target" will be to get him out on his ear at the first opportunity. If he's not abolished before then.

He's never out of the press for all the wrong reasons.He's now become the story and is about as "independent" (of his shifty crew) as the forth leg is to my kitchen table.
I think Johnston will find that the public's "target" will be to get him out on his ear at the first opportunity. If he's not abolished before then. He's never out of the press for all the wrong reasons.He's now become the story and is about as "independent" (of his shifty crew) as the forth leg is to my kitchen table. KarloMarko

8:02pm Wed 11 Dec 13

Willis7 says...

This is an email I have sent to the South Wales Argus after recently banging my head against a brick wall with Gwent Police:
With regards your article on the 11th December 2013.

I would like to say just recently I have experienced everything you have written about in this article.

On the 7/12/2013 at 4am my livery yard was broken into, they made off with 11 saddles with a combined value of over £9000, this same morning 2 other farms very close by were also broken into with a quad bike and farm machinery also being stolen. My dog woke me and I disturbed them which I think put a stop to any more break ins that night.

The day before the break ins there was (for want of a better word) a **** van doing the rounds, number plate, name and even a telephone number for this individual had been gathered, I also have CCTV at my yard which clearly caught the robbery, including clear as day photos of there faces. I have also been told there was forensic evidence at one of the other farms.

All this information was passed to Gwent Police but still they seemed uninterested in investigating these break ins. I however had no intention of sitting back and being a victim so made a little bit of fuss.

They wanted my CCTV hard drive but became difficult to pin down when they were going to pick it up (even though they told me to turn it off as it is a system that over rights itself).

When I chased it up I was told there was nothing logged, I raised a complaint with Gwent police which finally got it collected but when I chased up what was happening next I was told they had no log of an officer collecting it.

On Monday 9/12/2013 I received a phone call from Simon from Monmouth Police Station saying 'you see the trouble with your hard drive is we would have to drive it all the way to Cardiff for processing and we don't really want to do that'.

This is when I raised a Professional Standards complaint which for a short time seemed to get things moving, but I'm hot holding out much hope!

Kind Regards
This is an email I have sent to the South Wales Argus after recently banging my head against a brick wall with Gwent Police: With regards your article on the 11th December 2013. I would like to say just recently I have experienced everything you have written about in this article. On the 7/12/2013 at 4am my livery yard was broken into, they made off with 11 saddles with a combined value of over £9000, this same morning 2 other farms very close by were also broken into with a quad bike and farm machinery also being stolen. My dog woke me and I disturbed them which I think put a stop to any more break ins that night. The day before the break ins there was (for want of a better word) a **** van doing the rounds, number plate, name and even a telephone number for this individual had been gathered, I also have CCTV at my yard which clearly caught the robbery, including clear as day photos of there faces. I have also been told there was forensic evidence at one of the other farms. All this information was passed to Gwent Police but still they seemed uninterested in investigating these break ins. I however had no intention of sitting back and being a victim so made a little bit of fuss. They wanted my CCTV hard drive but became difficult to pin down when they were going to pick it up (even though they told me to turn it off as it is a system that over rights itself). When I chased it up I was told there was nothing logged, I raised a complaint with Gwent police which finally got it collected but when I chased up what was happening next I was told they had no log of an officer collecting it. On Monday 9/12/2013 I received a phone call from Simon from Monmouth Police Station saying 'you see the trouble with your hard drive is we would have to drive it all the way to Cardiff for processing and we don't really want to do that'. This is when I raised a Professional Standards complaint which for a short time seemed to get things moving, but I'm hot holding out much hope! Kind Regards Willis7

11:25am Thu 12 Dec 13

Jonnytrouble says...

Just reading Willis7 about his problems with Gwent police, I would like to say that it is about the Police force in your area and who ever the officer dealing with your case might be Lazy or incompetent in doing his job or his Boss looks at how much is being spent to date on dealing with you ! and limits his work ?
Example if you were killed catching the villain's all hell is let lose ( budget for it )
stealing, well insurance pays up, so the force limits its spending on investigation....
My classic example once calling the local number NOT 999 was from the person answering the phone ' what would you like the Police to do '
When I TOLD that person I wanted a response, I got it and the young officer sent that dealt with the problem acted professional, there have been incidents where I have had those that are Lazy and should not be in the force !
Ian Johnston served as an officer with the force for a long time, he NO's what im talking about, only people that worked with him in the force will no how good he was, personally I think he is ' weeding out ' the bad one's' as quick as possible and to make Gwent Police a number 1 force that WE the Gwent Council Tax payers want,so give him a chance to do the job we elected him to do
Just reading Willis7 about his problems with Gwent police, I would like to say that it is about the Police force in your area and who ever the officer dealing with your case might be Lazy or incompetent in doing his job or his Boss looks at how much is being spent to date on dealing with you ! and limits his work ? Example if you were killed catching the villain's all hell is let lose ( budget for it ) stealing, well insurance pays up, so the force limits its spending on investigation.... My classic example once calling the local number NOT 999 was from the person answering the phone ' what would you like the Police to do ' When I TOLD that person I wanted a response, I got it and the young officer sent that dealt with the problem acted professional, there have been incidents where I have had those that are Lazy and should not be in the force ! Ian Johnston served as an officer with the force for a long time, he NO's what im talking about, only people that worked with him in the force will no how good he was, personally I think he is ' weeding out ' the bad one's' as quick as possible and to make Gwent Police a number 1 force that WE the Gwent Council Tax payers want,so give him a chance to do the job we elected him to do Jonnytrouble

11:17pm Thu 12 Dec 13

Willis7 says...

Unfortunately for me (Willis7) I am a female who lives alone at the yard, it is fortunate I am of a mind to protect my rights and property regardless of whether the police feel the same.
Unfortunately for me (Willis7) I am a female who lives alone at the yard, it is fortunate I am of a mind to protect my rights and property regardless of whether the police feel the same. Willis7

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