HM Inspectorate of Constabulary
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Devon and Cornwall Police has ‘no excuse’ to be still incorrectly recording crime

Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) has today published an assessment on the accuracy of crime recording in Devon and Cornwall Police, which found that the force records only around 82 percent of crimes reported to it.

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Devon and Cornwall Police: Crime Data Integrity inspection 2016

HMIC previously inspected the accuracy of crime recording in Devon and Cornwall Police in 2014.

To assess the extent that recorded crime information in Devon and Cornwall Police can be trusted, HMIC asked:

  • How effective is the force at recording reported crime?
  • How efficiently do the systems and processes in the force support accurate crime-recording?
  • How well does the force demonstrate the leadership and culture necessary to meet the national standards for crime-recording?

Based on these criteria, overall HMIC has judged Devon and Cornwall Police as ‘inadequate’.

HM Inspector of Constabulary Wendy Williams said:

“These are not simply administrative tasks that Devon and Cornwall Police is getting wrong. I was most concerned to find that the force had failed to record reports of rape, serious sexual assault (against both adults and children) and offences of serious assault and human trafficking.

“Nationally, there has been sufficient focus on the importance of crime recording over recent years to have expected better recording accuracy from the force. Other forces have recognised the importance of accurate crime recording, so Devon and Cornwall Police has no excuse to still be poor at recording crime, and certainly not for the most serious of offences.

“In 2014, HMIC made recommendations to the force on how it should improve its crime recording practices. We were disappointed to find that the force hadn’t made progress against many of these recommendations. We estimate that the force fails to record over 17,400 reported crimes each year.

“Victims of crime in Devon and Cornwall aren’t receiving a good enough service when they initially report crime. This is essential to ensure that victims of crime receive the right level of support they need at this difficult time.

“We also found that call handlers do not always record the full details of the conversation they have had with the person reporting a crime. This means the attending officer does not always have the full information on which to base a crime-recording decision, and any supervision of that decision is undertaken without access to all of the information available. This may mean that victims aren’t receiving the best possible service at all stages of their involvement with the police.

“I expect the force to take immediate action to address these concerns and I will continue to monitor the force to assess whether or not the service for victims has improved.”

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Devon and Cornwall Police: Crime Data Integrity inspection 2016

Notes to editors

  1. HMIC is an independent inspectorate, inspecting policing to promote improvements in policing that make everyone safer, and assesses and reports on the efficiency and effectiveness of police forces to tackle crime and terrorism, improve criminal justice and raise confidence. HMIC inspects all 43 police forces in England and Wales together with other major policing and law enforcement bodies. HMIC are unable to make direct comparisons with the 2014 inspection due to a change in the methodology used. In particular, the 2014 inspection was a dip-sample of records in each force which contributed to a statistically robust rate for crime-recording accuracy for England and Wales, whereas this inspection is working to a statistically robust standard within each force.
  2. Further information on how Devon and Cornwall Police is performing can be found on HMIC’s online assessment tool, at
  3. For further information, HMIC’s press office can be contacted during office hours from 8:30am – 5:00pm Monday – Friday on 0203 513 0600.
  4. HMIC’s out-of-hours press office line for urgent media enquiries is 07836 217 729.
  5. Follow HMIC on Twitter @HMICgov.


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