‘Serious concerns’ over crime figures

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POLICE chiefs are considering a shake-up of crime figures in Wigan after a report found serious offences were not being recorded.

A watchdog investigation into forces – including Greater Manchester Police – has identified “serious concerns” after 14 alleged rapes were overlooked.

The report has prompted Police and Crime

Commissioner Tony Lloyd to launch an independent audit into crime-recording practices.

Latest crime figures for Wigan borough showed sexual offences have hit a four-year high although overall crime rates remained steady.

Mr Lloyd said: “We must have confidence that recorded crime is accurate, so this report is disappointing. I will be working with GMP to make improvements and will use my role to ensure that crime recording is brought up to standard in Wigan and across Greater Manchester.

“I have raised the issue with the chief constable at our public forum this week.

“And I have launched a full independent audit into how crime is recorded which will be used to identify where improvements need to be made and will set a timescale for these to be delivered.”

The HMIC interim report, released this week, used evidence from 13 police forces finding “weak or absent management and supervision of crime-recording, significant under-recording of crime and serious sexual offences not being recorded.”

It also identified “a lack of victim focus by the police when making crime-recording decisions.”

GMP did not log 123 out of a sample 388 incidents as crimes between November 2012 to October 2013, the report found.

Chief Insp Tom Winsor said: “The consequences of under-recording of crime are serious, and may mean victims and the community are failed because crimes are not investigated, the levels of crime will be wrongly under-stated, and police chiefs will lack the information they need to make sound decisions on the deployment of their resources.

“The accuracy and integrity of police-recorded crime data are vital to public trust in the police.

“This is an inspection of the integrity of crime data – not an inspection or inquiry into the integrity of the police.”

Total crime in Wigan remained just above the 16,000 mark although there were rises in certain robbery offences and hate crimes since last year.

An increase in reported sexual offences was in part attributed to the effect of several high-profile cases brought against celebrities raising awareness of the crimes.

HMIC will investigate remaining forces and report their findings later this year.