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Monday, 17 June 2013

Damning HMIC report exposes Kent Police’s “utterly unacceptable” crime recording

A damning report, which was commissioned by the Police & Crime Commissioner Ann Barnes, by Her Majesties Inspector of Constabulary (HMIC) into Kent Police has found that Kent Police is under-recording one in every 10 crimes and some victims are not getting the service they deserve, a new report has revealed. an “institutional bias” within the force in the past towards chasing numeric targets rather than tackling crimes which may have had a greater impact on people in Kent. In addition, it exposed the force for the sometimes incorrect use of “no crime” when a recorded crime is reviewed at a later stage and then declared not to be a crime. However, the report which stated that improvements had been made confirmed there was no criminal corruption within the force in relation to crime recording.

Mrs Barnes said she was "angry and dismayed at some of the findings". Saying that: "I’m staggered that 10 per of crimes are not being correctly recorded and it is utterly unacceptable,” she said. “I despair for some of the victims of crime who have been very poorly served, as every single victim of crime should receive a quality service. They must be at the heart of the policing service in Kent. I am comforted that HMIC has confirmed there is no criminal corruption in Kent Police and that this has played no part in any crime recording errors. Yet, while not actually breaking the law, it appears that some officers in the past have placed meeting performance targets before tackling crimes that have a greater impact on victims. This is not the behavior I expect from our public servants and I am relieved that this has stopped."

Mrs Barnes has asked HMIC to return in December to reinvestigate the crime recording figures to see what progress has been made.

Resonding to the report on Kent Police Shadow Policing Minister, David Hanson, said: "This report means the Home Secretary should now ask the Inspectorate to carry out the same analysis for every force in the country. "It is very important for the public to have confidence in the crime statistics in their area, yet this report shows one in ten crimes aren't being recorded properly. It also notes the misuse of cautions and community resolutions, something Labour has consistently called for urgent action to prevent. We know the misuse of out-of-court disposals is a problem across England and Wales with cautions and community resolutions being used for very serious offences against existing guidelines. All these reasons mean the Home Secretary should act and regain public trust in this area."