West Mercia Police’s crime recording capabilities have improved, finds Inspectorate

West Mercia Police has made notable improvements to how it records reported crime, according to a new report.

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West Mercia Police: Crime Data Integrity inspection 2019

Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) previously inspected the force’s crime recording arrangements in 2014. While the force was generally performing well, there were some issues. HMICFRS issued the force with a list of recommendations for improvement.

HMICFRS re-inspected the force earlier this year. It found that the force has implemented several processes to improve its crime recording arrangements. The force has also expanded and refined its training programme for officers and staff involved in crime recording decisions. As a result, the force now records over 90 percent of all crime reported to it.

The subsequent report, West Mercia Police: Crime Data Integrity inspection 2019, found that the force had:

  • effectively created and implemented a crime data integrity plan;
  • established a centralised crime bureau, which provides quality assurance for crime records;
  • put in place robust crime recording governance and performance management arrangements; and
  • developed an effective feedback process, so officers and staff can learn from previous mistakes.

However, the report warned that there were still some problems. Even with the increased recording rate, the Inspectorate estimated that the force failed to record over 8,900 reported crimes each year. The report also identified concerns around the force’s use of out of court disposals and the collection of data on equality.

HM Inspector of Constabulary Wendy Williams said:

“It is incredibly important that police forces get crime recording right. Doing so improves the effectiveness of investigations and makes it all the more likely that victims will receive justice.

“I am therefore very pleased with the findings from our most recent inspection into crime recording at West Mercia Police. We found that the force has put in place several measures – including implementing all but one of our 2014 recommendations – to improve how it records crime.

“The force’s crime recording procedures are now more aligned with the Home Office Counting Rules, which has led to greater standardisation between records. In addition, almost all crime is properly recorded at an early stage, which means that investigations benefit from a comprehensive information trail.

“While there are still some concerns, victims of crime in the West Mercia region can be more confident than ever that their crimes will be recorded in a proper manner.”

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West Mercia Police: Crime Data Integrity inspection 2019


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Since 2017, HMICFRS has taken on responsibility for inspecting all 45 fire and rescue services in England.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. For further information, HMICFRS’s press office can be contacted from 8:30am – 5:00pm Monday – Friday on 020 3513 0600.
  7. HMICFRS’s out-of-hours press office line for urgent media enquiries is 07836 217729.