MORE than 5,000 crime reports were not recorded by Gwent Police, an inspection of the force’s data has found.

Police forces undergo an inspection of their crime data by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMICFRS) once every few years.

And this year’s inspection examined Gwent Police’s crime reports from November 1 2017 to April 30 2018 and praised advances which had been made.

But the inspection found more than 5,000 (9.5 per cent) of crime reports were not being recorded.

These included 1,800 violent crimes, 90 sex offences, 44 out of 333 domestic abuse cases and one vulnerable victim crime.

The report said: “Incorrect recording decisions are often caused by officers and staff not understanding the crime-recording rules.

“The force has provided additional training.

“But we found that some staff and officers still don’t properly understand the crime-recording requirements for: common assault; harassment; malicious communications; and public order offences.”

It concluded: “Gwent Police has made good progress in its crime recording since 2014 and continues to work on further improvements.

“The strong leadership and positive approach among most officers and staff towards victims is welcome. It gives us confidence that the force can respond quickly and effectively to the outstanding issues we found in this inspection.

“We welcome the force’s continuing efforts to address the remaining gaps in its crimerecording arrangements identified in this inspection.

“We expect the force to make progress against the areas for improvement we make in this report. We will monitor this progress.”

Police and Crime Commissioner, Jeff Cuthbert, said: “The report praises Gwent Police for its ethical, victim-focused crime recording, in particular the efforts which have been made around improving first point of contact.

“I do acknowledge that there are some areas in which Gwent Police does need to improve upon, primarily around training and awareness raising, and the report makes a number of recommendations for improvement.

I will discuss these findings with the chief constable and continue to monitor progress against all recommendations in order to ensure crime is recorded effectively and that victims of crime in Gwent receive the best possible service.”

And Gwent’s Chief Constable, Julian Williams, said: “Victims are at the heart of everything we do and remain our priority.

We have specialist teams and officers focussed on our most vulnerable and we continue to introduce new measures to provide support for these people.

“We’ve recently introduced a crisis intervention team in our control room so there is a specialist response to domestic abuse calls, offering further support for both our own staff taking these calls and the victims themselves.

“We’ve seen an increase in the use of domestic violence protection orders used to protect victims of such abuse and are also working directly with victims to discuss their experiences of our service to ensure we continue to improve.

“I’m pleased to see that the report highlights our commitment in this area along with our dedication to act on previous recommendations which have all resulted in an improved service to our communities.”