It’s estimated North Wales Police (NWP) fail to record around 5,300 crimes per year with nearly 12% of reported crimes including violence and domestic abuse going unrecorded.
Around 20% of domestic abuse related crimes are also going unrecorded on police systems in North Wales according to a new report published by police watchdog the HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS).
Despite improvements on the previous year, the Inspectorate says the force requires more improvement following their latest ‘Crime Data Integrity Inspection’ which looks at how effective NWP are at accurately recording reported crime.
The ‘Watchdog’ said it was particularly concerned about the recording rates of violent crime with only 82.9% being recorded on police systems, “on too many occasions, the force is failing victims of crime” said the Inspector.
“In North Wales Police there is a failure of officers and staff to make correct crime-recording decisions at the first opportunity when dealing with reports of violent crime, particularly in domestic abuse incidents.
The time taken to record reports of crime is too often in excess of the 24 hours permitted by the Home Office Counting Rules (HOCR), and in turn this leads to delays in the referral of victims to the Victim Help Centre, “letting down those victims who need the early support that this centre can provide.” says the Inspector.
Around 20% of crimes related to domestic violence are going unrecorded in North Wales, the Inspector found of the 318 crimes assessed related to domestic abuse 63 of them were not recorded this included 52 violent crimes.
“We found that many of these reports involved the reporting of a crime at the first point of contact with the force, but these crime reports went unrecorded with little rationale to explain why.”
“As domestic abuse often involves victims who are particularly vulnerable to further offences being committed against them, the importance of recording reported crimes of domestic abuse cannot be overstated.”
“We found that safeguarding requirements had been considered in around three-quarters of these reports. The reports where evidence of safeguarding was not found included cases involving threats to kill, stalking and coercive behaviour.”
“We also found that the absence of a crime record resulted in only around half of these reports of crime being investigated, thereby increasing the potential risk of harm to the victim.”
“The under-recording of crimes related to domestic incidents, and the failure to provide safeguarding and a satisfactory service to these victims, are causes of concern.”
“This is because domestic abuse often involves victims who are particularly vulnerable to further offences being committed against them.”
HMICFRS said the force has improved its crime-recording processes having implemented all of the recommendations set out in our 2014 report.
The report found the culture and leadership with regard to crime recording in the force is outstanding.
“Senior officers demonstrate strong leadership with regard to crime-recording expectations. Without exception, we found an approach among officers and staff which places the victim at the forefront of their crime-recording decisions.
We also found evidence of strong governance in respect of crime recording. The force crime registrar (responsible for oversight of crime-recording arrangements) regularly attends dedicated crime-recording force performance meetings, which the deputy chief constable chairs.”
The report concludes;
“North Wales Police has made progress in its crime-recording processes since 2014. However, improvements must continue to be made.”
“The strong leadership and positive approach among officers and staff toward victims of crime is welcome, and some of the systems and processes used to ensure good crime-recording decisions are taken are to be commended. However, more needs to be done if the gaps in the force’s crime-recording arrangements identified in this inspection are to be overcome.”