THE consistent failure by Kent Police to properly record crimes is ‘not good enough’ the county’s Crime Commissioner has warned.
Matthew Scott called the force to task over the issue when facing questions from the Kent and Medway Crime Panel last week.
His comments come after it was revealed that around 16 per cent of all reported crimes went unrecorded between June and November last year – leading Kent Police to be rated inadequate on the issue by Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary.
The inspectorate estimates that this equates over the course of a whole year to 24,300 reports not being recorded.
The crime panel raised concerns that it was the second time Kent Police had been found wanting on the issue.
“The force has taken its eye off the ball”
Reporting to the panel on Thursday (July 20) Mr Scott admitted the failure had happened ‘on my watch’ and said he shouldered some of the blame.
He added: “Inspectors highlighted a number of concerns about the cultural issue of supplying crime data. The fact of the matter is that it has not been good enough. One of the big weaknesses was the audit process… after 2014, the process was not up to scratch.”
Mr Scott said there had been failures within the auditing process but the accuracy had improved to 94 per cent, up from the 84 per cent last time it was evaluated.
Panel chairman Cllr Mike Hill said: “The force has taken its eye off the ball, and it is such an important issue. I hope it is not going to happen again.
“Inspectors found the force failed to ensure it adequately records all reports of rape, other sexual offences and violence, including domestic abuse crimes.”
Chief Constable Alan Pughsley told the Times yesterday that the report ‘makes for disappointing reading’ but said they had responded quickly to make the changes needed to improve the accuracy of crime recording.
“There are a number of instances where although we have not recorded a crime, we have responded to the victim’s needs, conducted an effective investigation and provided safeguarding to the victims.
“All of those crimes that were not recorded have been thoroughly reviewed and safeguarding has been put in place.
“Victims are always at the heart of what we do – something that the inspectorate recognised in its findings.
“Officers and staff approach crime recording in a positive and ethical way and we have no desire to under-record crime.”
“It is apparent there have been administrative errors in the way we have been recording crime which has not been in line with the guidelines.”
They were now working hard to ensure ‘our accuracy level increases’