FURTHER UPDATE: Commissioner’s concern at HMIC crime recording report
Devon and Cornwall’s Police and Crime Commissioner Alison Hernandez has explained the actions she has already taken to make sure Devon and Cornwall Police is doing all it can to support victims of crime.
“Devon and Cornwall is one of the safest places to live, work or visit in England and Wales but when I am out and about people clearly tell me that they do not believe the recorded crime rate," she said.
“A recently published report by the HMIC now highlights that the Police need to do better in ensuring the accuracy of crime recording, especially around rape and sexual offences.
“This does not offer any reassurance to the public and their cynicism of recorded crime not being reflected as they see it.
“I want to let you know a few things that I have instigated to help some way in that reassurance and know that I take this HMIC report very seriously
“In November I requested the Force establish a formal Gold Group, ahead of the report being published, to look at ways to improve crime recording..
“I also requested that victim support services are involved in this group to ensure transparency and the reassurance that victims are cared for.
“I also insisted that my office is also represented in this group to oversee the improvements required.
“But the most important issue is that victims are not dissuaded from continuing to report and can do so via 101, particularly by email firstname.lastname@example.org.”
Following the publication of a report by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary into the way Devon and Cornwall Police records crime - which found the Force to be 'inadequate' - Ms Hernandez said it was most important that victims continue to come forward.
"Victims of crime must not be discouraged from reporting what has happened to them. If they report a crime there will be people available to help," she said.
"I have been assured by the chief constable that all non-recorded instances where rape was reported were reviewed and contact made with the victim to explain the process and ensure they were properly cared for."
“I take the HMIC report very seriously and fully accept that Devon and Cornwall Police needs to improve in this important area.
“It is important that the public has confidence in our crime statistics but even more important is that we provide every victim of crime with a good service.
“This is a complicated area but too many errors are being made. The chief constable assures me that progress of remedial action has already been made and that it will continue as a priority.
“I will also monitor the accuracy of crime data recording as an additional strategic measure within the plan and I will be closely scrutinising the implementation of the chief constable’s action plan to assure myself that performance has improved.
“Supporting victims and witness, and helping them to get justice, is a priority in my police and crime plan.
“I want to reassure all victims of crime, especially those who are raped or sexually assaulted, that the police will take them seriously and they will be dealt with professionally.
“If an individual is any doubt whether to report, in the first instance, they should call 101 or email email@example.com. They can also report non-emergency crime online at https://services.devon-cornwall.police.uk/crimereporting/ - anyone using any of these options will be supported through the reporting process.
"Of course anyone in immediate danger should call 999 at once.”