Police crime recording method 'flawed' - Newport MP
5:00pm Wednesday 9th April 2014 in News
NEWPORT MP Paul Flynn is among a group of MPs who have slammed police crime recording as a “flawed leadership model” in a damning report.
The report, ‘Caught Red-handed: Why we can’t count on police recorded crime statistics’ follows an investigation by a public administration committee, on which the Newport West MP sits.
Also highlighted in the report is the wide disparities in the no-crime rates for reports of rape with Gwent Police force featuring seventh highest in the list of forces for their no-crime rate for reported rape incidents.
Mr Flynn said the report aimed to get the “truth”. He said: “Vital decisions are taken on the basis of these statistics. We want to see a system we can all rely on.
“We are critical of everyone, The Met, police forces and the ONS.”
The committee is concerned with the target-driven method of recording crime and more seriously the misrecording of crime, especially with regard to sexual crimes in many areas including Gwent.
The report says: “Senior police leaders must ensure emphasis is placed on data integrity and accuracy, not on the achievement of targets. We regard such practise as a flawed leadership model.”
The report also states: “Any instance of deliberate misrecording of sexual offences is deplorable, but especially so if this has been brought about by means of improperly persuading or pressurising victims into withdrawing or downgrading their report.
“The disparities between different police forces in the 'no-crime rates' for rapes and sexual offences are sufficient in our view to raise serious concerns about the varying approaches taken by police forces to recording and investigating these horrendous crimes.”
The report urges the Home Office to analyse the disparities within two months.
A Gwent Police spokesman said: “Gwent Police operates a victim focused system where reports of rape are quickly recorded. An investigation is then commenced. For varying reasons some of the cases are found to be unfounded or incorrect.
“A recent Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) review looked at every reported rape which was subsequently classed as a ‘no crime’ during the last year and agreed the classification was both appropriate and correct.
“There is a recognised lack of consistency in the approach different forces take to crime recording, which means there will inevitably be divergences in ‘No crime’ rates across the country and the service is currently working to resolve this issue.”
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