Hampshire Force Changes Crime Reporting Methods


Posted by Andy Goddard

Posted in News

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Hampshire Constabulary has told Winchester Today that it is making ‘major changes’ to how it is recording crime, after a damning report from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary showed police across the UK are failing to officially record one in five of the crimes reported to them.
An inspection of all 43 forces showed that 800,000 offences a year were not logged as crimes.

Over a quarter of sexual offences were not recorded, while the figure for crimes of violence against the person was even higher at a third.
The Hampshire Force says crimes which previously would have been investigated first and then recorded as crimes, are now being recorded immediately on contact from a victim or on speaking to a member of the public.

The Force says it wants to put victims at the heart of the criminal justice system.
A separate Hampshire-specific report, which looks at force activity between 1 November 2012 and 31 October 2013, states that the force has a “strong victim focus” and that “there is no evidence of institutionalised performance pressure not to record crime correctly”.
Investigation standards are not called into question.

Weaknesses were highlighted in Hampshire Constabulary’s previous “investigate to record” approach, where officers speak to victims and investigate before recording and categorising crime in databases. Less crime has been recorded than would have been if national standards had been applied in all cases.

Reasons include:

* Occasions when crimes are not recorded into databases when victims state that they do not want to pursue criminal action with regard to the offence;
* Occasions where multiple crimes, reported as part of the same incident, are only recorded once;
* Occasions where crimes with multiple victims are only recorded once rather than a separate crime record filed for each victim.
D/Supt Rachel Farrell says that for almost a year the Force has been working with staff and officers to change the process of how it records crime.

“This has been necessary as we cut back office staff in order to keep as many officers as possible on the frontline.

“The HMIC audit has been timely. It comes part way through our change and highlights specific areas where we need to improve. We welcome the positive comments about our strong victim focus.
“It is also reassuring that our plans are judged to be comprehensive, and that there is no evidence in Hampshire Constabulary of institutionalised performance pressure not to record crime correctly.

“We are already seeing improvement. We are recording more crime on our systems every year and if that means that public trust and confidence in policing also goes up then that can only be positive.”

Over the last three years Hampshire Constabulary has seen a 53% increase in reports of rape from the public.
This is welcomed by the Constabulary as a sign of confidence in the public reporting such crimes, and a great deal of progress working with their partners across the county.