Lancashire police have ‘significantly improved’ their approach to recording crimes, according to an inspection report.
Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) has today revealed that the force has shown a marked improvement since concerns were raised about its practices three years ago.
In 2017, HMICFRS found that more than 20,000 crimes reported to Lancashire police were going unrecorded each year. A number of crimes were not being recorded at the first opportunity, and officers showed a ‘general lack of training and supervision’.
Inspectors have now found that force has made improvements in all areas of its crime recording practices, as it now successfully records 93.3 per cent of all crimes reported to it. This represents a nine per cent increase over the 2017 findings, with over 15,000 additional crimes being recorded as a result.
Specific areas of improvement include:
• Establishing an incident management unit to quality assure crime recording decisions;
• Setting up crime management units to allocate crimes and authorise cancellations;
• Introducing new call-handling quality assurance processes; and
• Implementing a new data management system.
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.”
HM Inspector of Constabulary Phil Gormley said: “I am very pleased to see just how much Lancashire Constabulary has improved. In our last inspection we graded the force as ‘inadequate’. Therefore it is very encouraging to see the rate and pace of improvement in a relatively short amount of time.
“Whilst there is still work to do to ensure that all crimes are accurately recorded, our inspection revealed that the force has put in place a range of improvements at all levels. It has successfully applied all the recommendations contained in our 2017 report, as well as implementing its own initiatives and measures.
“These achievements have been spearheaded by the chief officer leadership. Last year, the force appointed a temporary assistant chief constable to lead a programme to improve how crime is recorded. Additionally, the deputy chief constable launched the ‘Record for Victims’ campaign, which aims to make sure the needs of victims are at the forefront of the crime-recording decisions taken by officers and staff. We also saw a notable improvement in crime cancellation decisions made by the force’s designated decision managers.
“All officers and staff should feel proud of these achievements, which ultimately mean a better service for victims of crime in Lancashire."
The force must continue to improve by ensuring it records all reports of rape, crimes associated with domestic abuse, and crimes committed against vulnerable people which third party professionals report.