Research has revealed that in Hampshire, police are not recording almost one in seven reports of rape. The results have been described as ‘shocking and unforgivable’ by the victims’ commissioner for England and Wales, Dame Vera Baird.
A study by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services found that one in 10 reports of rape were inaccurately recorded among 36 police forces.
This is for a number of reasons including the wrong paperwork and missing reports from the official records.
Published earlier this year, Hampshire Constabulary’s audit found 38 out of 287 (13%) of reported rapes were not recorded properly.
For crimes in general, Hampshire Constabulary recorded 9% wrong, with an estimated 15,200 missed offences a year.
‘It takes enormous courage to come forward and report a sexual crime.’
‘Victims would be devastated to learn that it has not been properly recorded – they deserve better.’
She went on to say that there is ‘no excuse’ for this.
A spokesperson for Hampshire Police commented:
‘Our priority is to ensure that victims have the confidence to report crimes, safe in the knowledge that they will be fully investigated and that they will receive appropriate support.
‘The accurate recording of crime can be influenced by many factors which may not be clear at the beginning of an investigation.
‘The transfer of cases from one force to another, or a different crime to the one reported being identified following an initial investigation, can impact on these figures and does not represent a recording failure.
‘Additionally, it may become apparent that a crime never actually happened. In these cases, police will use the verifiable information they have obtained to justify closing a case, and will never close a case if they are merely unclear as to whether a crime happened or not.
‘Forces receive regular audits from HMICFRS and work to meet objectives within their action plans through the use of in-force scrutiny panels, independent oversight, and with the help of crime incident registrars who can assist officers with the appropriate classification and recording requirements.’