TTHE integrity of Gwent’s crime data is of a high standard and is continually improving says Gwent Police chief constable Jeff Farrar.

He welcomed interim findings for his force within an HMIC report into crime recording, published yesterday.

But on BBC radio Mr Farrar said the inspectors’ report, which looked at 13 police forces including Gwent, did appear to find serious failings.

The HMIC police watchdog suggested that a fifth of all crimes in England and Wales could be going unrecorded and expressed serious concerns about how police record crimes.

Gwent’s police and crime commissioner Ian Johnston said the HMIC findings weren’t as relevant to Gwent as other forces.

Mr Farrar said interim findings of the report in respect to Gwent Police found that nearly nine out of ten crimes inspected here were recorded in accordance with national rules.

“We are above the national average in this regard,” he said.

The chief constable said he was also “satisfied that 100 per cent of our decisions in relation to removing crimes from our records were found to be accurate, the best figure in the country.

“These figures corroborate our own internal audits which tell us that our crime data integrity is of a high standard, and that it is continually improving.

Mr Farrar said: “Nobody joins the police service with the intention of recording crime inaccurately.”

Talking about the overall report in his role as the national lead on crime statistics, Mr Farrar told the Today programme there had been “clear evidence that some people have neglected their duty”.

But he said there were also examples “where some people have acted in the public interest and not recorded a crime”.

On allegations that 14 rape incidents weren’t recorded, he said: “There does appear to be serious failings there, there does appear to be serious concerns.

“In any walk of life and any profession we’re going to see those and we do need to investigate those thoroughly.”

Mr Johnston said the public in Gwent can have confidence in the direction that the force is taking.

He said the HMIC report confirmed many of the findings of Gwent’s own internal review last year.

“The chief constable made it clear to everyone in the force that ethical and accurate crime recording is essential if the public are to have confidence in the figures,” Mr Johnston said.