CHESHIRE Police has been ‘letting down many victims of crime’ according to a recent inspection which has graded the force’s crime recording accuracy as ‘inadequate’.

Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary (HMIC) has released a detailed report today, June 15, which highlights its findings about Cheshire Constabulary’s crime recording processes.

It shows that in a six-month period between June and November last year, more than 11,600 reports of crime were not recorded. This amounted 17 per cent of all reported crimes.

The main concern for HMIC was in regards to how Cheshire Police is dealing with reports of rape and sexual offences.

It showed that 21 per cent of rapes were either not recorded accurately or not recorded at all. Some of these missed reports, HMIC said, were due to recording the report as a different crime or ‘lack of belief’ in the account of the victim.

The HMIC report stated: “In Cheshire Constabulary we found 138 reports of rape that should have been recorded, but only 109 of these had been recorded. This is a cause of concern.”

There was also an additional three reported rapes that were recorded but then incorrectly ‘cancelled’.

The report said: “We reviewed 20 cancelled recorded crimes each of rape, violence and sexual offence crimes (excluding rape) and 12 robbery crimes. Of these, we found that the FCR had correctly cancelled 17 out of 20 crimes of rapes.

“The incorrect decisions in respect of rape are particularly concerning.”

Dep Chf Const Janette McCormick said Cheshire Police accepts the findings, but refuses HMIC claims that the force is failing victims.

Dep Chf Const McCormick said: “We accept the findings in the report. Progress has been made but we recognise that, like many other forces, we have more to do.

“We have already made changes in our crime-recording approach and historically also made significant financial investment in staffing in this arena.

“The safeguarding of victims is always put at the heart of Cheshire’s crime recording process, and considered throughout any subsequent investigation. All cases where HMIC inspectors highlighted some issues have been fully reviewed to ensure appropriate support has been put in place.

“While we agree that there have been some crime recording errors, this does not mean we are failing victims, nor does the report call into question the integrity of officers and staff. The report recognises our good leadership in respect of crime recording and in-roads have been made already in addressing the recommendations in the report.”

“The Constabulary will continue to look at how we do things to ensure the public receive the best possible service. But we do have some hard choices to make in this financial climate to fully remedy all of the recommendations.

“The Force has been previously praised as a ‘caring’ organisation by HMIC. We are, and always will be, fundamentally victim focused, and we will ensure that the public are confident we are providing the best service possible to victims of crime.”