‘Deep concern’ over police recording of rape

New report comes days after shocking Rotherham findings. By Rachel Roberts

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South Yorkshire Police must improve the accuracy and timeliness of crime recording decisions, according to a new report published today. The report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) says the level of under-recorded crime causes significant concern as some cases involve sexual assault against vulnerable children, rape and other serious crime.

The HMIC report, Crime Data Integrity: Inspection of South Yorkshire Police, has been released just after Professor Alexis Jay’s report into the shocking and widespread abuse of girls by a group of mainly Pakistani-origin men in Rotherham. Jay’s report highlighted the failings of the child protection services and South Yorkshire Police, which did not see the problem as a priority and “regarded many child victims with contempt”, according to Jay.

‘Need great improvement’

When processing rape offences the force policy states they should be recorded on the crime management system to comply with National Crime Recording Standard regulations. However the HMIC report found that only some officers and staff members clearly understood this policy. The force has been urged to review its policy immediately to make sure its methods when recording rape crimes comply with regulation standards.

Although there was some evidence of effective and accurate policing methods, particularly in recording crimes reported by members of the public, there were still many areas that needed great improvement, says the HMIC report.

The report’s authors had deep concerns that a substantial number of reported offences of a serious nature have not been recorded, resulting in many vulnerable victims being left unprotected.


The report concluded with seven immediate recommendations for the South Yorkshire Police, including taking steps to identify if an “investigate to record” culture is present in certain areas. It said this approach encourages officers to spend a great amount of time trying to disprove the victim’s word.

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