Devon and Cornwall Police: Crime Data Integrity re-inspection 2018

Crime Data Integrity re-inspection 2018

In October 2016, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) conducted a crime data integrity inspection of Devon and Cornwall Police.

We published the report of this inspection in February 2017 and concluded that the crime-recording arrangements in the force were not acceptable. As a result, Devon and Cornwall Police was given an overall judgment of inadequate.

Our 2016 report made a series of recommendations and areas for improvement aimed at improving crime-recording in Devon and Cornwall. This re-inspection assessed the progress made since this report.

This re-inspection focuses upon reports of violent crime and sexual offences. It does not include an audit of reports of other crime, and consequently it is not possible to report on the force’s overall crime-recording accuracy. Our overall judgment takes this into account.

Additionally, in our 2016 inspection we found that the force’s performance in regard to the crime cancellations was good. Therefore, we have not re-inspected crime cancellations and have instead used the findings from the 2016 inspection for the purposes of making our overall judgment in this report.

The findings and our judgment resulting from this re-inspection are set out below.

Please note: The previous inspection was carried out before 19 July 2017, when HMIC also took on responsibility for fire & rescue service inspections and was renamed HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services. The methodology underpinning our re-inspection findings is unaffected by this change.

References to HMICFRS in this report may relate to an event that happened before 19 July 2017 when HMICFRS was HMIC.

Overall judgment

graded inadequate

Devon and Cornwall Police has made limited improvements to its crime-recording arrangements since HMIC’s 2014 Crime Data Integrity inspection report. We found that:

  • the majority of officers and staff have made progress in placing the victim at the forefront of their crime-recording decisions;
  • the force has worked hard in bringing about improvements in the knowledge and understanding of crime-recording requirements among officers and staff within its public protection teams; and
  • it is introducing mobile devices for all frontline officers to enable more prompt recording of crimes.

Much work remains to be done, however. The force has completed fewer than half of the recommendations for improvement made in our 2014 report and the limited progress in this respect is seriously undermining the efficiency and effectiveness of its crime-recording arrangements.

Based on the findings of our examination of crime reports for the period 1 December 2015 to 31 May 2016, we estimate that the force fails to record over 17,400 reported crimes each year. This represents a recording rate of 81.52 percent (with a confidence interval of +/- 1.72 percent). The 18.48 percent of reported crimes that go unrecorded include serious crimes such as sexual offences and rape. The recording rate for violent crime is a particular cause of concern at only 76.10 percent (with a confidence interval of +/- 3.21 percent). This means that on too many occasions, the force is failing victims of crime.

Improvements must be made in many areas. In particular, we consider that there are too many failures to make the correct crime-recording decision at the first opportunity. These failures are often due to poor crime-recording processes and an insufficient understanding of crime-recording requirements by officers and staff, compounded by limited supervision to correct these decisions at the earliest opportunity.

Read the full 2016 report

graded good

Devon and Cornwall Police has improved significantly its crime-recording accuracy since our 2016 inspection. We found that it has improved its:

  • recording of crimes of violence and sexual offences (including rape);
  • recording of modern slavery crimes;
  • timeliness of the recording of reported crime;
  • use of classification N100; and
  • crime-recording audit arrangements.

Based on the findings of our examination of crime reports for the period 1 August 2017 to 30 September 2017 we estimate that the force:

  • records 93.4 percent (with a confidence interval of +/- 2.99 percent) of violent crimes reported to it; and
  • records 94.4 percent (with a confidence interval of +/- 2.49 percent) of sexual offences reported to it.

The advances made by the force mean that victims of these crimes can be more confident that their reports of crime will be recorded. In addition to these victims receiving an improved service, with a prompt referral to the force’s in-house victim care unit, the force also has improved its understanding of the demand for its services and of the extent to which crime is affecting its communities.

We did find, however, that the force still needs to improve its recording of:

  • crimes reported directly to its safeguarding teams; and
  • equality information so that it can better understand and provide an appropriate response to communities affected by crime.

Summary of inspection findings

The force has made limited progress with its crime-recording arrangements since our 2014 report. We found that:

  • improvements have been made to the knowledge and understanding of crime-recording requirements among officers and staff within the force’s public protection teams;
  • the force has also made some progress against the action plan developed by the national policing lead on crime statistics following the 2014 report, and which all forces have been asked to implement. This includes improvements to the force’s use of out-of-court disposals (e.g cautions and community resolutions); and
  • the force crime registrar (FCR) – responsible for oversight of crime-recording arrangements – has completed a national College of Policing course for FCRs and is now fully accredited for the role. His work is supported by a small audit team.

Despite these advances, the force’s performance in respect of crime-recording is unacceptable in the following areas:

  • The force is currently under-recording too many reports of crime, including:
    • violent crimes;
    • reports of rape; and
    • other sexual offences.

    The force needs to act promptly to improve the accuracy of its recording of these reports and to provide all victims with the service to which they are entitled and deserve.

  • The force has made unsatisfactory progress with implementing changes recommended in the 2014 report and, as a result, has only completed some of these recommendations.
  • Reports of crime reported directly to public protection teams are not always being recorded.
  • The FCR provides information to local policing areas on crime-recording performance, including individual feedback for officers and staff. However, not all local policing areas are providing this feedback to their officers and staff, nor is there any process to ensure that feedback is given.
  • Delays to the recording of a reported crime are leading to delays in the referral of victims to the force’s in-house victim care unit, letting down those victims who need the early support this team can provide.
  • The force must improve the extent to which it collects information regarding the effect of criminality on identifiable groups within communities.

Some of these failings are a consequence of the force not taking sufficient action to deal with deficiencies identified within our 2014 report, in particular officers and staff not understanding their responsibilities for crime-recording. They are, in addition, underpinned by limited supervision from the force to support officers and staff in making good and prompt crime-recording decisions, and in working with complex crime-recording processes that are applied inconsistently in different areas of the force.

Causes of concern and areas for improvement

In 2016, we identified several causes of concern and areas for improvement, you can view these in the full version of the 2016 report.

Read the full 2016 report

Since our 2016 inspection a chief officer lead has taken responsibility for a change programme intended to make improvements to the force crime-recording arrangements. This leadership has helped the force achieve substantial progress. In particular, we found that the force:

  • has fully implemented all of the recommendations made in our 2016 report;
  • records more reports of crime at the first point at which sufficient information exists to do so;
  • improved substantially its recording of violent and sexual crimes, including rape and domestic abuse;
  • provided training which has greatly improved the understanding of crime-recording requirements among officers and staff;
  • more robustly supervises and assures the quality of crime-recording decisions, with frontline sergeants and crime-management hub staff scrutinising crime-recording decisions more widely and to a higher standard; and
  • now records modern slavery crimes very well.

These are welcome changes which are testament to the leadership demonstrated by the force, which has worked hard to implement sustainable improvements. We consider that the force has achieved changes that will ensure a considerably improved service to victims of crime.

However, recording of crimes reported by third party professionals (e.g. social services and health professionals) directly to its safeguarding teams still needs to improve. Work also remains to be done to improve recording of equality information so that the force has a better understanding of, and can respond effectively to all of its communities.

In concluding this section we note that the force has put a great deal of effort into reviewing and revising its crime recording arrangements, and into providing training to the vast majority of its officers and staff. The force is running a pilot in Plymouth, as part of an alliance with Dorset Police, which is developing how the two forces can improve further the process of crime-recording and crime management to ensure long-term sustainability. These efforts have resulted in substantial improvements to its crime-recording accuracy and the resultant service to victims of crime, for which we commend the force.

How effective is the force at recording reported crime?

graded good

Violent crimes

93.4% of reported crimes were recorded

We found that 76.10 percent of violent crimes reported to the force are recorded (with a confidence interval of +/- 3.21 percent). This is lower than the overall crime recording rate noted above. By our estimate, this means the force fails to record over 7,700 violent crimes that are reported to it each year. As violent crime can be particularly distressing for the victim, this is an area in which the need for improvement is particularly acute.

Many of these crimes involve injury, which can cause even further distress for the victim. We therefore find the recording of reports of violent crime by the force is a serious cause of concern.

In the majority of cases, where violent crimes were not recorded, we found the principal causes to be due to:

  • the processes currently in place for the recording of a reported crime (described earlier);
  • officers and staff not understanding adequately the crime-recording rules, particularly around the complexities of some violence offences such as harassment. This results in the failure to record many such reports of crime; and
  • an absence of adequate supervision of crime-recording decisions.

Victims of violent crime and, in particular, victims of more serious violence, often require substantial support. This support should come not only from the reporting and investigating officers, but also, possibly, from the force’s internal victim care unit. Under those circumstances, crime-recording takes on a heightened importance. Failing to properly record a violent crime can result in the victim care unit receiving no notification that a person has become a victim of violent crime. That in turn, deprives victims of the support they need and deserve.

We found that 93.4 percent of violent crimes reported to the force are recorded (with a confidence interval of +/- 2.99 percent). This compares with our 2016 findings of 81.52 percent (confidence interval +/- 1.72 percent). We estimate that, in comparison with the findings of our 2016 inspection, this improved recording accuracy meant that the force recorded an additional 6,000 crimes for the year covered by our re-inspection audit period. The force’s recording is now amongst the best we have seen in all our Crime Data Integrity inspections and is a welcome improvement.

In the majority of cases where violent crimes were still not recorded, we found the principal causes to be:

  • occasional misunderstanding of the recording requirements of some violence offences such as harassment;
  • incident records that contain multiple reports of crime sometimes resulting in only one crime report being recorded;
  • non-recording of further crimes identified during the course of investigations, with these sometimes only being referred to within an existing crime record when, in fact, an additional crime record should be created; and
  • some resource deployment officers (RDOs) – who despatch officers to incidents and who update and close incidents – not receiving the training given to other staff in the call management and communications unit. This results in RDOs not always being prepared to challenge officers when they decide without sufficient rationale, not to record a reported crime.

We also note that the backlog, found during our 2016 inspection in the crime standards unit – which provides quality assurance for all crimes upon creation and filing of the crime record – still exists. That said, the force is confident this backlog will be gone within three months and that this team will then only be reviewing newly created crimes.

Of 551 reports of crime that we audited, we found 176 that we assessed to be crimes related to domestic abuse. Of these 176 crimes, the force had recorded 163. The 13 offences not recorded included five offences of common assault, five of harassment or stalking, two of theft and one of criminal damage. Again, we note that this is a substantial improvement to the recording of domestic abuse-related crime since our 2016 inspection. This is welcome. The causes for these missed crimes are as described above.

We found that, of these unrecorded domestic abuse cases, the force has conducted safeguarding in ten cases but an investigation in only two. While the force must continue its work to ensure it records and appropriately investigates all such crimes, it is clear that officers and staff now have a far greater understanding of their responsibilities in this regard. This means that the force has a greater understanding of how domestic abuse crime affects its communities, and victims can have greater confidence in the response of the force when reporting these crimes.

Sexual offences

The force’s recording of reports of sexual offences (including rape), is a cause of concern. We found that the force records 85.16 percent of sexual offence crimes that are reported to it (with a confidence interval of +/- 2.51 percent). We estimate that this means the force fails to record over 470 reported sexual offence crimes each year.

Those failings are significant given the very serious nature of sexual offences and the harm they cause to their victims. We found, for example, that the force had failed to record reports of rape (see the next section), serious sexual assault against both adults and children, sexual activity with a child and incitement of children to commit a sexual act.

The causes of that under-recording are similar to those described earlier:

  • the deficiency of the processes that are currently in place for the recording of a reported crime;
  • officers and staff not understanding adequately the crime-recording rules;
  • an absence of adequate supervision of crime-recording decisions; and
  • on occasion, a lack of belief in the account of the victim, where the victim does not wish to pursue any prosecution or where the victim is apparently suffering from a mental illness.

We found a further cause of this under-recording to be the deployment of officers and staff who do not possess the specialist skills and knowledge necessary to properly deal with these reports, to provide the right support to these victims (who are often vulnerable) or to make the correct crime-recording decision. We found that this is as a result of the force not having sufficient sexual offence liaison officers (SOLOs) to ensure that every victim of serious sexual assault receives the support these specialist staff members can provide.

Sexual offence victims require significant support from the outset. The failure to record such crimes, to provide appropriate support to the victim, or any delay in attendance or investigation will often result in a lack of confidence in the police and reluctance on behalf of the victim to engage in subsequent stages of the criminal justice system. The force must improve its performance in this respect.

Read the full 2016 report

94.4% of reported sex offences were recorded

We found that the force records 94.4 percent of sexual offence crimes that are reported to it (with a confidence interval of +/- 2.49 percent). This compares with our 2016 findings of 85.16 percent (confidence interval +/- 2.51 percent). We estimate that, in comparison with the findings of our 2016 inspection, this improved recording accuracy meant that the force recorded an additional 400 sexual offence crimes for the year covered by our re-inspection audit period. This improvement is welcome.

This recording rate is good and is indicative of the effort made by the force to improve crime recording since our 2016 inspection. This is particularly important in respect of sexual offence crimes, many of which are very serious in nature and cause significant harm to their victims.

We note that the force failed to record a small number of reported offences including exposure, sexual assault and inciting a child to engage in sexual activity over social media. The reasons for these failings are as described above.

Rape

We found 185 reports of rape that should have been recorded, but only 158 of these had been recorded. These include reports that originated on the force incident system, reports recorded directly on UNIFI by specialist officers, and from a review of N100 records (see below). This is a serious cause of concern.

These 27 missed rapes include referrals from professional third parties, reports which were part of multiple offences and reports from victims suffering from mental health problems or with alcohol or drug dependencies. In three cases the victim of the reported rape was a child, in five cases the reports were of historic rape, three victims were suffering from mental illness and one was an elderly female in care. However, it is clear that, although a crime may not have been recorded, in the majority of those cases Devon and Cornwall Police carried out an investigation and provided support and safeguarding, including referrals to partner agencies when appropriate. There were only two cases where there was an identified victim and Devon and Cornwall Police did not provide such support and in one of those cases the victim was already under the care of professionals providing safeguarding. The level and extent of the service provided in these cases falls short of acceptable standards.

As already described, reports of rape should involve the attendance of a sexual offence liaison officer to speak to the victim, yet we found that this is not always happening.

The causes of that under-recording are the same as were identified above in respect of sexual offences. These are:

  • the deficiency of the processes that are currently in place for the recording of a reported crime;
  • officers and staff not understanding adequately the crime-recording rules;
  • an absence of adequate supervision of crime-recording decisions; and
  • on occasion, a lack of belief in the account of the victim, where mental health, alcohol or drugs were a factor or where the victim does not support a prosecution.

There are, in addition, some issues surrounding the force’s use of the Home Office classification N100. Introduced in April 2015, the N100 is a record created to explain why reported incidents of rape or attempted rapes, whether from victims, witnesses or third parties, have not been immediately recorded as a confirmed crime. This can include instances where additional information confirms the rape did not occur, or where the rape occurred in another force area and was therefore transferred to the relevant force to record and investigate.

We found the guidance provided by the force to officers and staff in respect of the use of classification N100 is wrong. For example, the guidance advises staff to record all reports of rape and, following investigation, request that the record be amended to classification N100 if it is established that a crime did not occur. This is incorrect; in fact, the classification N100 is only to be used in circumstances where a crime record is not created. Consequently, we found 18 incident reports for which an N100 classification should have been applied but it was only applied in 3. Of these 18, five related to crimes transferred to other police forces to investigate as the offences had occurred in their area, including four which had occurred overseas. The other nine related to unsubstantiated third party reports.

Separately, we also reviewed 20 sample records where an N100 classification had been used. Among these, we found six reports that the force should have recorded as crimes of rape. Three of these should have been recorded as rape crimes from the outset as they were third party reports from professionals (such as social services) and the other three were clearly reports of rape that did not fit the criteria for an N100 classification.

Staff in the public protection teams had a good understanding of what type of incident required an N100 classification. However, we found that frontline officers and, in particular, contact centre staff, had very little knowledge of the purpose and use of this classification. The force must ensure that it uses classification N100 consistently on all relevant occasions in order to minimise the delay in recording an offence of rape. This is therefore, an area for improvement.

The recording of a report of rape is important. Victims generally require significant support from the outset and any delay in providing support can be detrimental to both the recovery of the victim and to any investigation. This, in turn, can influence negatively any future judicial proceedings.

Read the full 2016 report

87 of 92 audited rape reports were accurately recorded

Since our 2016 inspection the force has improved its crime recording for reports of rape. However, further improvement is necessary. This is important as rape is one of the most serious sexual offence crimes a victim can experience. Accurate recording helps to ensure the victim receives the service they have a right to expect and deserve, and it allows the police to identify the nature and extent of sexual violence in their local area. In turn, this enables the police to operate with the highest practicable levels of efficiency to identify and deal effectively with perpetrators.

In Devon and Cornwall Police we found that 92 reports of rape should have been recorded and that 87 were recorded. Of the five unrecorded reports of rape, three of the victims received adequate safeguarding and an investigation. Two victims did not receive the level of service that such a vulnerable victim should expect. These crimes have now been recorded and the force has assigned a senior investigator to oversee any investigations.

Where a reported rape is not recorded as a crime, forces are required to apply a Home Office classification N100, which was explained in the report of our 2016 inspection. In this regard the force has improved, but still has further improvements to make.

We examined 20 sample records and found that all were correctly applied. We further examined five incident records for which an N100 should have been completed and found that only one had been correctly completed. We found that, despite the training provided, too many officers and staff still do not understand the N100 classification.

How efficiently do the systems and processes in the force support accurate crime recording?

graded requires improvement

Crime reports held on other systems

6 of14 vulnerable victim crimes were recorded

In order to be confident that vulnerable victims always receive the support they need, the force must improve its recording of crimes reported directly to its public protection teams.

We examined 49 vulnerable victim records on UNIFI. Of these, we found that 17 crimes should have been recorded, of which 13 had been. The missing crimes included a case of wilful neglect of an elderly resident in a care home, a common assault on an elderly female, one case of domestic abuse (common assault) in front of a child, and one of theft from an elderly victim.

We note, with approval, that the force has worked hard in making improvements to the knowledge and understanding of crime-recording requirements among officers and staff within its public protection teams. For example, detective sergeants within this department have been trained and are now designated as responsible for assessing third party referrals from partner agencies to improve crime-recording decisions. We also found a very positive approach among staff in this department, who clearly understood the need and importance of accurate crime-recording.

The force has also introduced twice-yearly reflective learning sessions in this department, which are intended to ensure learning from identified issues. This is a good process and provides an opportunity for the force to regularly satisfy itself that crime-recording decisions are being made appropriately. The force has also developed a process through which reports of rape and serious sexual assaults can be referred from sexual assault referral centres (SARCs) across the force, protecting, when required, the anonymity of the victim, while ensuring the crime is recorded. This is a positive step that may encourage other victims to confidently report these serious offences.

Despite these advances, the seriousness of the risks associated with under-recording reports of crime made to the public protection teams renders these gaps in recording an area for improvement.
Read the full 2016 report

We found that Devon and Cornwall Police has made little progress to ensure that crimes reported directly to its public protection teams are recorded. The recording of these crimes is important for the force to be confident that vulnerable victims receive the support they need.

We examined 50 vulnerable victim records. We found that of 14 crimes that should have been recorded, only six had been. The eight crimes which were not recorded included common assault, inciting sexual activity with a child, sexual assault, harassment and ill treatment by a carer. In 5 of the 8 cases we found the force provided sufficient safeguarding to the victim, and in 7 of the 8 cases no investigation was undertaken. This potentially leaves these vulnerable victims and the wider community at further risk, and the perpetrators of these crimes at large.

We also found that some sergeants and constables working in the multi-agency safeguarding hubs and in the forces’ central safeguarding teams had not completed the mandatory crime-recording training and, as a result, do not fully understand their responsibilities for crime-recording.

Modern slavery

Offences relating to modern slavery are an important and recent addition to the crimes that forces must record and investigate. We, therefore, reviewed the recording of reports of modern slavery offences. We also examined the force’s understanding of the origin of such reports.

The force does not currently have a modern slavery database onto which referrals regarding reports of modern slavery are recorded. Therefore, we only examined the six reports the force had recorded as modern slavery crimes. Of these, we found a further six offences that should have been recorded but were not: three of these were modern slavery offences; one was an offence of violent crime; one a public order offence and one an offence of witness intimidation. The force needs to do more to ensure that it identifies, records and investigates all crimes from reports of modern slavery. This area, therefore, requires improvement.

The force has a limited understanding of the origins of reports about modern slavery. It accepts that it needs to do more work both nationally and regionally to understand better the issues of modern slavery so that it can improve its response. To this end, the force lead for modern slavery now chairs several local and regional meetings with partner agencies. The force has also been instrumental in developing a pilot process to improve the referral of reports of modern slavery to the Salvation Army, the national agency responsible for caring for victims of slavery. This means that the victims of modern slavery, who are often very vulnerable, receive support from this agency at an earlier stage than would otherwise have been possible. This is good practice.

We found that staff had a good, basic knowledge of modern slavery and modern slavery offences. We also found that staff had a good, basic knowledge of their respective responsibilities in relation to the recording of such offences and where they could find further information.

Read the full 2016 report


Offences relating to modern slavery are an important and recent addition to the crimes that forces must record and investigate. We, therefore, reviewed the recording of reports of modern slavery offences. We also examined the force’s understanding of the origin of such reports.

As a result of our 2016 inspection the force introduced a modern slavery database on which it records referrals regarding reports of modern slavery. The force audits this database regularly .

We examined 21 modern slavery crimes and found all were correctly recorded along with three other crimes. We also assessed ten modern slavery emailed referrals and found one missed modern slavery crime, but that all other crimes were correctly recorded. We also found one N100 which was incorrectly not recorded from a rape which occurred abroad. This performance is very good.

We found that staff continue to have a good, developing knowledge of modern slavery and modern slavery offences. We also found that staff continue to have a good understanding of their respective responsibilities in relation to the recording of such offences and where they could find further information.

Equality

HMIC found that the force must improve in its collection of information regarding crimes affecting identifiable groups within communities.

Protected characteristics, such as gender, sexuality, disability, ethnicity, religion and age do not necessarily increase the vulnerability of an individual to the risk of crime. However, it is important that the force records information regarding the characteristics of victims of crime in order to identify any patterns which may exist between different community groups and their vulnerability to (or their relative likelihood to report) different types of crime. We found that, on occasions, the force does not capture even the basic equality information in relation to the victim such as age and gender.

Importantly, so long as the force fails to record such information, it will be unable to understand clearly whether its crime-recording decisions are consistent across different community groups. This, therefore, is an area for improvement.

Read the full 2016 report


The force has made little progress in its efforts to improve its collection of information regarding the effect of criminality on identifiable groups within communities. However, the force assures us that it will make progress in this area now that it has improved its crime recording generally.

How well does the force demonstrate the leadership and culture necessary to meet the national standards for crime recording?

The leadership needed to address the concerns raised in the 2014 report has been lacking. The force has made only limited improvements to its crime-recording processes since 2014 and has far more to do if it is to stop failing victims of crime.

It is clear that the majority of officers and staff are placing the needs of the victim at the heart of their crime-recording decisions. However, the force should ensure that this approach is applied by 100 percent of officers and staff. We found systemic issues which relate to effective crime-recording arrangements, together with an insufficient knowledge of crime-recording requirements among officers and staff.

The force has made some progress against the action plan developed by the national policing lead on crime statistics following the 2014 report, and which all forces have been asked to implement. This includes improvements to the force’s use of out-of-court disposals (e.g cautions and community resolutions).

However, the force has implemented fewer than half of the changes recommended in the 2014 report. The limited progress in this respect is unacceptable and is seriously undermining the force’s crime-recording arrangements. The recommendations not adequately progressed include the following issues, all of which remain relevant:

  • reports recorded as enquiries on UNIFI (e.g. those used by the public protection teams) are recorded as crimes and that these reports are proportionately audited;
  • the FCR has insufficient resources and skills necessary to carry out a proportionate and effective audit programme that balances the cost of the checking process with the need to improve the accuracy of crime-recording. This includes the capacity to respond to emerging issues and to re-visit and test the effectiveness of changes made to respond to identified shortcomings;
  • quality assurance processes within the control room include compliance with the National Crime Recording Standard;
  • its guidance for recording rape clearly specifies the point at which, and conditions in which, a report of rape should be recorded as a crime;
  • it operates an adequate system of training in crime recording for all police officers and police staff who are responsible for making crime-recording decisions, and ensures those who require such training receive it as soon as reasonably practicable;
  • supervisors have oversight of the making of crime-recording decisions to ensure compliance with the HOCR, whether those decisions are made by personnel in force control rooms and call-handling centres, or by members of specialist teams, or officers or staff with routine contact with the public; and
  • in crime-recording, the presumption that the victim should always be believed is fully institutionalised and that all reports of crime are recorded as crimes at the earliest possible opportunity.

As these outstanding recommendations reflect many of the gaps in the efficiency of the crime-recording arrangements found during this inspection, they are included in the recommendations and areas for improvement set out above.

Read the full 2016 report

graded outstanding

Following the publication of our 2016 inspection findings a deputy chief constable (DCC) took responsibility for leading the work to improve the force’s crime-recording arrangements. The force has re-emphasised its crime-recording expectations and explained them to officers and staff. The DCC has been highly visible across the force area in this regard and it is clear that senior leaders in Devon and Cornwall understand the importance of accurate crime-recording.

We found that the force has improved senior officer oversight of crime-recording arrangements, and of the systems, processes, supervision and training of officers and staff. As a result, officers and staff are placing the needs of the victim at the heart of their crime-recording decisions. In particular, the service provided to victims of sexual offences has improved.

We were pleased to find that the force has completed all of the recommendations from our 2016 report.

Conclusion

Devon and Cornwall Police has made substantial improvement to its crime-recording processes since our 2016 report. We welcome this improvement. It still has some work to do to improve the service it provides to vulnerable victims of crime when reported directly to its safeguarding teams, and to understand the effect of criminality on identifiable groups within its communities. It should also consider providing training to those resource deployment officers who missed the initial training, continue to monitor and review the work of its crime standards unit and re-emphasise the need to record multiple crimes. However, it is clear that all officers and staff have worked hard to improve crime-recording arrangements and to provide an improved service to the victims of crime and local communities.

What next?

HMICFRS welcomes the steps taken by Devon and Cornwall Police to improve its crime-recording arrangements. We expect the force to continue to make further progress and to build on the improvements made so far. We will continue to monitor progress.

The force, as with all police forces, may be subject to a further unannounced crime data integrity inspection at any time.