Shelagh Fogarty 1pm - 4pm
Greater Manchester Police failed to record more than 80,000 crimes over a year
10 December 2020, 01:10
The policing watchdog has said it is "deeply troubled" about Greater Manchester Police's failure to record more than 80,000 crimes over 12 months.
How GMP - England's second-largest police force - provides a service to victims of crime is a "serious cause of concern", according to the damning report by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS).
Inspectors found that around one in five of all crimes, and one in four violent crimes, reported by the public are not recorded by the force.
GMP failed to record an estimated 80,100 crimes reported between July 1 2019 and June 30 2020 - around 220 crimes a day.
A higher proportion of violent crime was not recorded, including domestic abuse and behavioural crimes, such as harassment, stalking and coercive controlling behaviour.
Inspectors estimated that the force recorded 77.7% of reported crimes, a drop of 11.3% from 2018.
The force wrongly and prematurely closed some investigations, inspectors found, some with vulnerable victims, a proportion being domestic abuse cases, where although a suspect was identified, the victim did not support, or withdrew support for police action.
And "in too many cases" watchdogs said there was no evidence to confirm the victim's wishes had been properly considered before the investigation was closed, and inspectors could not be sure that victims were properly safeguarded and provided with the right service or support.
Ian Hopkins has been Chief Constable of GMP since October 2015, with a force of 6,866 officers.
HM Inspector of Constabulary Zoe Billingham said: "Victims of crime are too often being let down by Greater Manchester Police.
"The service provided to victims, particularly those who are most vulnerable, is a serious cause of concern.
"This is extremely disappointing given that HMICFRS has been urging Greater Manchester Police to improve in this area since 2016.
"Failure to record crimes potentially prevents victims from receiving the justice and support they need.
"I am deeply troubled about how frequently the force is closing cases without a full investigation, giving the reason that the victim did not support police action.
"In too many of these cases the force didn't properly record evidence that the victim supported this decision - particularly in cases of domestic abuse, where seven in 10 are closed on this basis.
"While it is simply not good enough that these concerns have not been addressed for over four years, I acknowledge that the force is taking action to address these deficiencies."
GMP is investing in new infrastructure to centralise its crime recording and is introducing a new assessment to ensure more vulnerable victims are identified.
Ms Billingham said senior leaders in the force are demonstrating their intent to improve the service and there had been a recent marked improvement in its recording of serious sexual offences and rapes but this now needs to be done across the board.
And she warned "this situation cannot continue" with a further inspection planned in six months with "considerable and sustainable improvements" expected.
GMP deputy chief constable Ian Pilling said the force was "disappointed" by some of the report's findings, "particularly where we have let victims down".
"However, I want to reassure the public that we treat this matter very seriously," he said. "We have a long-term strategic plan in place to address these issues and we are determined to make whatever other short-term improvements we need to make, and to make them as quickly as possible.
"Although we acknowledge there has been a deterioration in some elements of recording since the last inspection, we have made huge improvements in some elements including rape, sexual offences and many areas of volume crime which are now recorded by our centralised unit."
He added: "The safety and wellbeing of the public, as well as maintaining their confidence, underpins all that the force does."