LANCASHIRE Constabulary has welcomed the “significant improvements” identified in the way it records crimes after being graded ‘Good’ after a recent HMICFRS inspection.
In 2017 the Constabulary was inspected by the HMICFRS who found that the way they recorded crime was inadequate and had left more than 20,000 victims of crime without the appropriate access to support.
In a re-inspection report published on Thursday, May 16 the inspectors found Lancashire Constabulary has “significantly improved” their crime-recording arrangements and is now graded as ‘good’. In particular they found Lancashire Police has:
• improved overall crime recording;
• substantially improved recording standards for violent crime;
• maintained a good level of recording accuracy for reported sexual offences;
• developed and implemented a crime data integrity (CDI) action plan to address recommendations and areas for improvement and drive systemic cultural change;
• appointed an operational strategic lead responsible for improving crime recording; and
• invested in additional resources to scrutinise and improve crime-recording decision making and data quality.
They also recognised a forcewide internal campaign called ‘Record for Victims’ (R4V). R4V aims to make sure officers and staff make correct crime-recording decisions, to help victims and make sure they get the support they deserve.
The inspectors examined crime reports from August 1 2018 to October 31 2018 and found the force now records 93.3 percent compared with the 2017 inspection finding of 84.3 percent – the best improvement of any force in the country.
Deputy Chief Constable Sunita Gamblin said: “I’m really pleased with the findings of the report which recognises the huge amount of hard work our officers and staff have done to improve what we do to record crimes – and by doing so support victims, one of the most important things we do as a police force.
“After the 2017 inspection, we knew that we were not providing the service for victims that the people of Lancashire deserve. Since then the Constabulary has focussed more than ever on the importance of crime recording from a victim's perspective. Getting crime recording right builds trust and confidence across the communities that we look after.
“Every time we receive a report of crime having taken place in Lancashire, it is vitally important that we record it. Firstly to ensure that victims of crime get access to the right support they need and secondly, so that we can fully understand the nature and types of crimes that take place in Lancashire and provide the right service to those who need it.”
All police officers are required to follow an extensive set of Home Office rules as to how, and whether, they record a crime when attending an incident. Lancashire Constabulary has therefore provided additional training to officers to ensure that all crimes are identified and recorded, and victims offered the vital support that they need.
The inspectors found a few areas where the force still has more work to do, including ensuring it records:
• all reports of rape;
• crimes associated with domestic abuse; and
• crimes committed against vulnerable people which third party professionals report.
HMICFRS said they were confident the force will achieve further progress in these areas.
This is due to Lancashire's “sustained commitment to continuous improvement” and their “proven ability” to make improvements since their 2017 inspection.
Lancashire's Police and Crime Commissioner Clive Grunshaw said: "This is a fantastic achievement by Lancashire Constabulary which is testament to the considerable work has been undertaken to improve how the force record crime and support victims.
"Following the initial report I have worked with the Chief Constable to ensure the inspectorate’s recommendations were addressed and I'm pleased that the additional resources we have invested into scrutinising and improve crime-recording decision making and data quality have been recognised.
"Effective crime recording is vital to ensure victims of crime receive the service they deserve and that the most vulnerable people in society are being safeguarded. It also enables us to prioritise effective investigation of crime and inform the public of the scale, scope and risk of crime in Lancashire."
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