A police force was rated “inadequate” after failing to record at least 20,000 crimes reported to it in a year.
Lancashire Constabulary was under-reporting too many crimes, including violence, rape and domestic abuse, HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) said.
Victims were being “let down”, it warned.
The force said it had made improvements since the Crime Data Integrity inspection was carried out in July.
Hertfordshire Police was also inspected and rated as “requires improvement”, while South Wales was rated “good”.
A total of 17 out of the 43 police forces for England and Wales have now had their crime data integrity inspections published since August 2016.
Eight of those are deemed “inadequate” overall and inspectors found they were failing to record between 14% and 24% of crimes.
In Lancashire, about 16% of crimes were unrecorded, the figures show.
HM Inspector of Constabulary Michael Cunningham said he was “disappointed” and the force should act “immediately” to address the gaps in recording reports of crime.
Inspectors found 78.3% of reported violent crimes were recorded by Lancashire Constabulary, while 93.6% of sex offences were recorded.
A total of 18 of 31 vulnerable-victim crimes were recorded properly, they noted.
The report said that overall the force:
- Recorded about 84% of crimes reported to it
- Had “insufficient understanding” among officers and staff of crime-recording requirements
- Had “limited supervision” to correct decisions of officers and staff
- Had “made progress” since 2014 in placing the victim at the forefront of crime-recording decisions
- Had improved knowledge and understanding of reporting modern day slavery crimes
- Had “good practice” in terms of the cancellation of recorded crimes
Inspectors made recommendations that included carrying out a review of how the Initial Investigation Unit (IIU) identified crimes to be recorded.
It should also provide training for all staff on recording crime and offences involving malicious communications, harassment and common assault, they added.
Lancashire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Clive Grunshaw said inspectors had raised “very serious concerns” and he had been “assured” work was already under way to “urgently” put into place the recommendations.
A force spokesperson said it was acting “to ensure that crimes were properly recorded, investigated and victims of crime are at the heart of everything we do.
“This is vital to ensure we continue to have the public’s trust and confidence,” he added.
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