Norfolk and Suffolk police forces criticised by watchdog

Police officer Image copyright PA
Image caption Norfolk and Suffolk Police said they were making a concerted effort to improve the reporting of crimes

Two police forces are failing to record thousands of crimes with the "volume of missing records" a cause for concern, the constabulary watchdog has found.

Norfolk and Suffolk Constabularies were both rated inadequate in the recording of reports of crime.

Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) said overall the forces required improvement.

Both forces said they were committed to improving the service.

The watchdog report found the Norfolk force "only records 87.5% of all crimes reported to it, meaning that an estimated 8,700 reports a year go unrecorded".

In Suffolk, the force "fails to record an estimated 5,300 reports of all types of crime" - about 9% - with the numbers for violent crime a "particular concern, with an estimated 3,600 reports a year going unrecorded", inspectors said.

'Lack of understanding'

Inspector of Constabulary Zoe Billingham said that while she was encouraged by improvements in both forces since the last inspection in 2014, there were concerns they were still not recording crime as accurately as they should be.

Referring to Norfolk, she said: "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."

Suffolk "has one of the best sexual offence recording rates" out of the 41 forces inspected to date, but it was "disappointing" that problems with understanding rules about recording had still not been addressed, Ms Billingham added.

Norfolk Deputy Chief Constable Paul Sanford said: "Nonetheless the report correctly finds that we have further improvements to make to improve the accuracy of our crime recording and we accept the recommendations of HMICFRS and have already started to recruit more staff to undertake auditing work."

Suffolk Constabulary's temporary Assistant Chief Constable, David Cutler, said the force acknowledged the problems raised in the report and "remains committed to continue improving the way crimes are recorded".

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