Wales

8,400 crimes not recorded by Dyfed-Powys and Gwent police

Handcuffs on keyboard Image copyright baona/Getty Images
Image caption HMICFRS plans to monitor the progress in both Gwent and Dyfed-Powys Police forces

Violent and sexual offences are among the thousands of reported crimes not being recorded by two Welsh police forces every year.

HM Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMICFRS) found there was a failure to properly record more than 8,400 crimes in total.

As part of rolling inspections, every force has its crime data checked.

Gwent and Dyfed-Powys Police were found to have made improvements in recent years but there were still failings.

The independent inspections looked back at the last four years and found:

Dyfed-Powys: Unrecorded crime

Numbers per year

3,300

overall crimes unrecorded

  • 1,500 violent crimes not recorded

  • 70 sex offences

  • 66 out of 283 domestic abuse cases

  • 7 vulnerable victim cases

DYFED-POWYS 'CONSISTENTLY MISSED' DOMESTIC ABUSE CRIMES

Dyfed-Powys had made a "concerted effort" to record crime more accurately since the last report in 2014, particularly in dealing with more complicated crimes like modern slavery and sexual offences, HM Inspector of Constabulary Wendy Williams found.

But it was a "cause of concern" that the recording rate for violent crime was only 84.4% and the report said the force must improve.

Ms Williams said: "In many cases, victims only get the right to essential support services when a crime is recorded.

"That's why I was concerned to see that the force consistently missed crimes related to domestic abuse, stalking and harassment off the book."

The inspection suggested that officers and staff not understanding the crime-recording rules led to the failures, made worse by limited supervision to correct these decisions as soon as possible.

Dyfed-Powys Police in response said it recorded 93% of reported sexual offences.

Temporary Deputy Chief Constable Richard Lewis said: "The report recognises the good progress made by the force and the unequivocal desire to support victims of crime.

"There has been a programme of improvements to the way that crime is recorded, which is ongoing and is overseen by chief officers.

"This has already identified areas of good practice, recognised by HMICFRS and further steps have been taken since the inspection to improve the recording of domestic abuse through increased supervision and revision of processes."

Gwent Police: Unrecorded crime

Numbers per year

5,100

overall crimes not recorded

  • 1,800 violent crimes unrecorded

  • 90 sex offences

  • 44 out of 333 domestic abuse cases

  • 1 vulnerable victim crime

'A FEW TEETHING PROBLEMS' AT GWENT POLICE

In the Gwent force area, Ms Williams praised improvements and strong leadership on crime-recording and was "confident" victims were at the heart of crime-recording decisions.

But she found "a few teething problems" including that call handlers were not always taking down all the details they needed.

There was also "more to do" with reports of domestic abuse.

"But I know that the force has already put together a comprehensive plan to make sure it does better for victims of this terrible crime," she said. "We have seen that Gwent Police is committed to putting the work in, so I am confident the force will take the necessary action to improve."

A Gwent Police spokeswoman said: "Forces across the UK operate differently and currently in Gwent at the first point of contact there are 33 crime types that are immediately 'crimed' by our operators with officers 'criming' anything outstanding on further investigation.

"We are in the process of introducing new measures where all crimes will be recorded at the first point of contact including violent crime and our training programme will commence in January."

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