The Home Secretary Theresa May has lashed out at police after a report revealed that one-in-five crimes in England and Wales could be going unreported, including allegations of rape.
The Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) report indicated their ‘serious concern’ as it was revealed that 14 rapes were not reported by officers, while criminals have escaped prosecution and were wrongfully handed ‘out-of-court disposals’ instead.
The report warned that the police’s failure to report crimes could lead to ‘no hopes of justice’, ‘failed communities’ and ‘artificially high detection rates’.
The Home Secretary has stated her disgust at the ‘unacceptable failings by the police’ after the report – which inspected 13 forces including Greater Manchester – was released this morning.
She predicted that a rise in reported crimes as a reaction to the statistics could see a spike in crime figures – but insisted crimes were not soaring in the UK.
“It is quite possible, once HMIC has completed its work on recorded crime statistics and made recommendations on how the police need to improve, that we will see an increase in recorded crime,” she said in a statement.
“If that increase is driven by improved accuracy in the recording of crime or more victims reporting crime to the police, we should welcome it. Such an increase would not mean that crime itself is rising.”
Conservative MP Bernard Jenkin, who chairs the Commons public administration select committee (PASC), has hit out at the ‘devastating’ report.
However, the National Policing Lead for Crime Statistics Chief Constable Jeff Farrar has responded by claiming police ‘actively addressing their weaknesses’.
‘Poor knowledge’ of rules and ‘inadequate’ training have been blamed for the statistics, while poor supervision and management of forces have also been seen victims of crime failed.
‘Workload pressure’ also saw an alleged rape go unreported.
As the two largest forces in the country – GMP and London’s Metropolitan Police – were investigated, over 60% of the country’s reviews were covered in the interim report. Individual force results have not been released at this stage.
The final report will be released in October.