The Recording of Crime
I have read HMIC’s report into crime recording in Kent, and I commend PCC Ann Barnes for her commitment to working to ensure that official crime figures reliably reflect actual crime.
In Essex, we will continue to focus on reducing crime but we must have confidence that the crime figures are reliable. At the broad level, an accurate record of the types of crime committed and where they are occurring helps to shape the way in which police resources are deployed. At the individual level, if a crime is not correctly recorded there is a risk that the victims of that crime are not getting the service and support they deserve. I am determined to place victims at the centre of all our thinking and behaviour.
I am highly attuned to the risks of a performance culture producing unintended consequences. Earlier this year, with my concurrence, Essex Police undertook a review of the use of cautions which demonstrated, for instance, that a case where a caution was given to a burglar was a rare and isolated incident. I was broadly reassured by that review, but it did identify some issues around whether officers had always checked a suspect’s previous offending history. I have spoken with Chief Officers about this matter, and the force has undertaken to improve performance in this area.
I would be surprised and disappointed if practices existed in Essex which were similar to those identified by HMIC in their report into crime recording in Kent. I will be discussing that HMIC report with Chief Constable Stephen Kavanagh in the coming days, and I also welcome the fact that the Inspectorate will be looking at crime recording in all forces as part of their national crime data integrity programme.
The HMIC report can be read here.
Nick Alston, Police and Crime Commissioner for Essex