Norfolk Constabulary needs to improve how it records crime, according to Inspectorate
Norfolk Constabulary’s crime recording arrangements have improved over the past five years, according to a new report. However, it is still failing to record enough reported crime.
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Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) previously inspected the force’s crime recording practices in 2014. That inspection highlighted several problems with its crime recording processes.
During a re-inspection carried out earlier this year, HMICFRS found that many of these problems have since been rectified, resulting in an improved crime recording accuracy.
The subsequent report, Norfolk Constabulary: Crime Data Integrity Inspection 2019, highlighted the following specific improvements:
- the creation and implementation of a crime data integrity plan;
- the introduction of an investigation team for incidents which do not require attendance at the crime scene;
- effective processes for identifying and recording modern slavery offences; and
- the implementation of feedback process to allow for continual learning.
However, it also stated that many challenges remain. The force only records 87.5 percent of all crimes reported to it, meaning that an estimated 8,700 reports a year go unrecorded.
The Inspectorate determined that this recording rate stemmed largely from limited training and poor supervision. Specific problems included:
- not recording enough crimes within 24 hours;
- not appropriately recording reports received from third parties;
- failure to always inform victims if their report is cancelled or transferred to another force; and
- failure to collect enough diversity information.
To remedy these problems, the report recommended that the force extend its crime recording training to include all supervisors, officers and staff working in a crime recording role.
The overall grade given to Norfolk Constabulary for this inspection is ‘Requires Improvement’.
HM Inspector of Constabulary Zoë Billingham said:
“Accurate and timely crime recording is crucial. Not only does it enable to the police to properly investigate an incident, but it builds public confidence in the police service.
“I am encouraged by Norfolk Constabulary’s improvements since our last inspection in 2014. The force has made a concerted effort to improve its accuracy, and has implemented all the recommendations we made as a result of our previous inspection.
“Despite these improvements, however, the force is still not recording crime as accurately as it should be. In particular I am concerned about a lack of understanding amongst some officers and staff around the rules for recording crimes such as harassment, stalking and coercive and controlling behaviour.
“On a very positive note, the force has shown that it is committed to improvement. We rated its culture and values with regards to crime recording as ‘outstanding’. The leadership of the Chief Constable and his senior team has been very effective, and great progress has been made in explaining the importance of crime recording to the organisation as a whole. I am encouraged by this and am hopeful that we will see further improvements when we reinspect the force at a future date.”
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- HMICFRS is an independent inspectorate, inspecting policing and fire and rescue services in the public interest. It assesses and reports on the efficiency and effectiveness of police forces and fire and rescue services.
- HMICFRS inspects all 43 police forces in England and Wales together with other major policing and law enforcement bodies. It also publishes data and thematic reports on areas of particular interest.
- Since 2017, HMICFRS been responsible for inspecting all 45 fire and rescue services in England.
- Crime Data Integrity inspections assess an individual police force’s response to reports of crime by the public, and the effectiveness of that response. The inspection includes an audit, which examines the extent to which a force is applying the correct rules, as well as fieldwork.
- HMICFRS is unable to make direct comparisons with the 2014 inspection due to a change in the methodology used. In particular, the 2014 inspection was a dip-sample of records in each force which contributed to a statistically robust rate for crime-recording accuracy for England and Wales, whereas this inspection is working to a statistically robust standard within each force.
- For further information, HMICFRS’s press office can be contacted from 8:30am – 5:00pm Monday – Friday on 020 3513 0600.
- HMICFRS’s out-of-hours press office line for urgent media enquiries is 07836 217729.