Review of police system finds crimes not logged

Chief Superintendent Bob Sanderson
Chief Superintendent Bob Sanderson
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SIX out of seven offences were dealt with correctly by police call handlers in South Yorkshire in a sample checked as part of a nationwide review.

A total of 120 incidents logged by call handlers were checked by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and they found 16 had been wrongly ‘closed’ without crimes being recorded.

The Inspectorate, which monitors and inspects the efficiency and effectiveness of the police service, said the findings give ‘some cause for concern’.

But it said it was confident the force had the ‘leadership, innovation and commitment to build on its current achievements for crime and incident data quality’.

The inspection praised South Yorkshire Police for using a single centre for call handling, despatch and crime recording - and said staff coped with high demand so calls were not ‘lost’ and there was no delay in reporting them.

The data collected as part of the review showed that when converting incidents to crimes the information was transferred ‘accurately’ from the incident system to the crime recording system.

In the majority of cases, enough detail had been recorded on the system to offer assurance they had been correctly classified.

But it found in most cases, once an incident had been converted to a crime, follow-up activity by officers was not recorded - making auditing more difficult.

The report said the data collected showed South Yorkshire Police’s contact with victims, to update them on the progress of their cases, was ‘very good’.

The report said: “Staff involved in call handling, despatch and crime recording were all clear about the importance of data quality and were regularly assessed on their compliance with force and national standards.

“HMIC found strong arrangements at a senior level to secure the quality of incident and crime data, supported by helpful plans, policies and strategies.”

A police spokesman said the small sample size checked was less than half of one day’s recorded crime but added they will use the findings to help further improve data quality.

Assistant Chief Constable Bob Sanderson said: “We are already working to achieve ever more accurate incident and crime data and this report will help us to deliver that. We accept there is more work to do but the report demonstrates we have a very sound base of strong crime and incident data management.

“We will continue to improve data quality through strong audit and governance arrangements.”