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Crime Of The Century - A Chilling Look At Crime Statistics In The UK


Clarifying the Counting Rules and addressing the circumstance when a crime should be Recorded


This review has served to highlight a range of scenarios where the police experience considerable difficulties in deciding whether or not to record allegations as crimes. Notable examples are those where – despite clear evidence that an offence has occurred – the ‘victim’ decides not to co-operate, or those where the victim is adamant that a crime has occurred, but there is little evidence in support of his/her claim. To ensure forces deal consistently with these matters, there is a need to formulate recommendations on how the police service should deal with them. In doing so, it will be necessary to address the relative merits of the evidential and prima facie approaches to crime recording.


The promotion, by HMIC, of more searching audits of crime recording practices


The recent moves that have been taken by HMIC to encourage police forces to audit their crime recording appear to have been influential. Across the ten forces under review considerable priority has been attached to this issue. However this work has been focussed principally at the type of crime classification applied to ‘target’ offences, and not to whether allegations are recorded at all. More searching standards are now required – with force enquiries starting from incident logs. The ability to ‘track back’ to reports made to IRs is obviously constrained by the fact that incident and crime systems are normally quite separate, but a number of forces have effectively tackled this issue.


NOTE TO HOME OFFICE REPORT:


It was interesting to note that this 108 page report, devoted to examining the policies, and practices, of different police forces in recording crime, made only scant reference to ‘gaming’ practices that were by this time imbued within the culture of recording crime.


“Cuffing” was referred to once and then only as if to refer to a Television expose on the subject. No investigative work followed or comments were made by the authors.


Considering the dramatic impact that the various practices have on overall crime, it is surprising and disappointing that a more in depth investigation of these practices was not conducted at this earlier opportunity.


The three final recommendations would have an indirect effect on the practices and would of course be welcomed. It is clear however, that the Home Office were careful to avoid direct references to specific practices, which clearly represented a lost opportunity for much needed reforms.


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