Rape reports to be reviewed in Warwickshire following damning study

One in four sexual offences have gone unrecorded nationally
One in four sexual offences have gone unrecorded nationally

Officers at Warwickshire Police are reviewing reports of rape made to the force since 2010 in which staff recorded that no crime had taken place.

Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary has published a report showing that one in five crimes reported across the country are not being reported by officers - with 26 per cent of sexual offences going unrecorded. The inspectorate examined the period between November 1 2012 and October 31 2013.

And now, in response to the findings, police in Warwickshire will look again at reports of rape labelled as “no crime” in the past four years.

Assistant Chief Constable Amanda Blakeman said: “We take on board the HMIC’s recommendations from the Review and have already implemented many of them. For example, further training has been provided to officers and staff involved in making ‘no crime’ decisions.

“We are in no way complacent and areas we still need to work on include detecting crimes of rape and we are addressing that immediately. HMIC found in most instances officers receiving reports of rape and other sexual offences had promptly taken responsibility and had ensured that a crime was recorded and that the victim received the appropriate care. However, Warwickshire Police will be auditing the reports of rape made to the force in the last five years between 2010 to 2014 where they were no-crimed.”

ACC Blakeman added: “This is a much wider period of time than the HMIC looked at, but we are reviewing these records not only to ensure compliance with National Crime Recording Standards and Home Office Counting Rules but to ensure we have achieved the best result for victims. In recent years we have done much to improve victim confidence in reporting rape and we do not want this to be undermined. By reviewing these reports of rape we can ensure that the issues raised by the HMIC are covered and that we are confident that our decision making is right and that the issues outlined by HMIC do not feature within these reports. We want to make it clear that we will put victims first, even if this means an increase in the number of crimes recorded.”

And she believes that the force is on the right track. ACC Blakeman said: “Since the audit of our 2012/13 figures, the crime bureau, already in existence in West Mercia, has now been extended to Warwickshire Police. In West Mercia, where the HMIC audited where the crime bureau was involved, we get 100 per cent recording and this best practice will be adopted by Warwickshire.

“The review acknowledged we do a lot right too. For example, it acknowledged that most officers and staff engaged in the crime-recording process are aware of the headline message to ensure integrity in crime recording and strive to do the right thing first time. There is a clear expectation throughout the alliance that crimes are correctly recorded, investigated and concluded against national guidelines applying a strong victim focus. There is also no evidence of pressure explicit or implied to record or incorrectly record crime and this message is reaching frontline staff. This is a good foundation to build upon.”