Inspectorate finds some police forces still failing to record reported sexual offences

16 Jan 2019

West Midlands Police is 'failing victims' and not recording more than 16,600 violent crimes each year, according to Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS), who have rated the force 'inadequate'.

Only 78% of violent crime and 89% of sexual offences reported were recorded, HMICFRS found.

The force said it had made 'substantial progress' since it was last inspected in April 2017.

About three-quarters of police forces around the country have been reinspected so far and of those, two-thirds were rated as either 'inadequate" or 'requiring improvement'.

Reports from inspections were first published in 2016, after police forces throughout England and Wales were found to have an 'utterly unacceptable' rate of accurately recording crime.

The recording rate by the West Midlands force remained 'unacceptable and must be urgently addressed', the Inspectorate said.

"Too often the force is still failing victims of crime, including domestic abuse victims," it added.

Katie Russell, spokesperson for Rape Crisis England & Wales, said:

“It’s seriously concerning that any sexual offences are going unrecorded by police.

These are traumatic crimes that can have wide-ranging and long-lasting impacts on those who experience them.

Anyone who reports a sexual offence should be treated with respect, empathy and impartiality, and have their report properly investigated.

Rape Crisis has raised concerns about sexual offences being unrecorded for a number of years and is keen to hear how this issue will be tackled.

Failure to record reported sexual offences is just one of the many ways the criminal justice system currently lets victims and survivors of child sexual abuse, rape and all forms of sexual violence down.

A complete review and overhaul of the criminal justice system in relation to sexual violence is urgently needed.”

Rape Crisis appeared on BBC Radio 4's Woman's Hour on 16th January 2019 alongside Zoe Billingham of HMICFRS to discuss the issue of under-reporting: listen again here.

HMICFRS's full Crime Data Integrity re-inspection reports for police forces in 2018 can be found at their website.