Suffolk police miscounted serious crimes

SUFFOLK'S assistant chief constable today defended his force's record after it was named among 18 forces which under-reported the amount of serious violent crime.

SUFFOLK'S assistant chief constable today defended his force's record after it was named among 18 forces which

under-reported the amount of serious violent crime.

Gary Kitching said the mistake was down an error based on the complicated nature of the national reporting procedures.

He also stressed that the level of crime previously is accurate. The under-reporting, which has occurred for more than ten years, is linked to the specific categories the offences fall in.

Mr Kitching said: “This is about an honest interpretation of Home Office guidance. Do we record violent crime? Yes. “Do we investigate those crimes and do the best we can for the public? Yes. Are our levels of confidence from victims high? Yes.

“We did this (the under-reporting) based on an honest interpretation of quite complicated statistical guidance.

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“We have been praised for our integrity for recording crime in various inspections.

“Once again we are dancing around statistics, rather than concentrating on good policing.

“Overall violent crime is down for the year. I have been asking people about the service we deliver and people come back saying they are very, very, satisfied with what our officers are doing.

“Our job is hunting down people who commit crime and bring them to justice. We have among the highest confidence levels in the country in what we are doing.

“Our detection levels are probably the highest they have ever been. We are solving more crime now than we did last year and the year before and that means more people are being brought to justice.”

Mr Kitching said this year his priorities are on cracking down on domestic violence and the drink and drug-related issues, along with the violence, generated by the night-time economy.

The list of forces involved in under-reporting serious crime was obtained through a Freedom of Information request, by the BBC.

The undercounting came to light last October when quarterly crime figures for the 43 forces in England and Wales were published.

It saw the number of serious violent crimes jump by 22 per cent on the previous year.

A handful of the constabularies involved in the errors were named at the time, but the identities of all 18 were not revealed.

The full list comprised the Metropolitan Police and Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Cleveland, Cumbria, Derbyshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Humberside, Kent, Lancashire, Norfolk, North Wales, North Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire, Staffordshire, and Thames Valley forces.

New Home Office guidance on how to classify crime was provided in April last year.

It emerged that a senior Kent officer subsequently wrote to the Home Office to "express concern" at changes to the way crime figures were recorded and reported.

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