Police could be deliberately fiddling crime figures, according to the police watchdog.
Tom Winsor, HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary, said he wanted to review how police forces record crimes amid concerns officers are deliberately changing statistics.
Tom Winsor, HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary, said he wanted to review how all the country’s police forces record crimes amid concerns officers are deliberately changing statistics.
The review will examine claims that police officers recorded fewer serious offences than the crimes that had actually been alleged.
Part of the study would be to see whether rapes had been under-counted because they had been classified as sexual assaults.
Other examples included theft being recorded as lost property, violence with injury being recorded as common assault and burglary being classified as theft in a dwelling.
The inspectorate would also look into suggestions that some officers would get prisoners to confess to crimes they had not committed in order to boost clear-up rates.
Mr Winsor said there was no evidence of substantial under-recording of crime but it was “legitimate to assess the matter”.
He told the Home Affairs select committee said: “The figures are critical to a whole range of decisions which elected officials, chief constables and others must make. Information is the oxygen of accountability and the information must be sound.”
Mr Winsor added: “There have been anxieties expressed in relation to the quality of crime data statistics. We will be doing an all-force inspection of the integrity of crime recording by the police and we will report on it when we have done it.”
He said the review would look at “circumstances where crimes are incorrectly recorded or not recorded as crimes but are recorded as incidents”.
He added: “It is alleged that from time to time police officers who are eager to improve their clear-up rates will all go to a prison and get some people who are already in prison to confess to crimes they did not commit, the ‘taken into considerations’.
Liberal Democrat committee member Julian Huppert asked: “Do you have any evidence to suggest this downgrading is happening substantially at the moment?”
Mr Winsor replied: “No. I think it is legitimate that we assess the matter, particularly in view of public anxiety that there may be something awry.”
Mr Winsor is due to speak to rank and file police officers at the annual conference of the Police Federation of England and Wales in Bournemouth later today.
Police could be fiddling crime figures, watchdog warns