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Dorset is getting crime data right, says Inspectorate

Dorset Police’s leadership has been praised for making significant improvements to the way it records crime data. HM Inspectorate said the force’s leadership is outstanding and rated its performance good over all.

Dorset Police is ensuring more victims of crime are receiving the support and safeguarding through better crime reporting. And, according to HM Inspectorate of Constabulary, the force’s leadership is committed to getting it right.

An inspection into the way the force records crime found improvements to processes, relevant training and messages from the force crime registrar had all had an impact.

The Inspectorate estimate that the force records 93.3% of the crimes that is reported.

The force was rated good over all for progress since the service area was last inspected in 2014 and the leadership was rated as outstanding for its approach.

Accurate crime data recording is a contentious issue at the moment; MPs on the Home Affairs Select Committee have criticised the quality of data on the enforcement of the COVID-19 lockdown.

HMI says there is still too much variation across the 43 police forces and campaigners have also raised concerns about the lack of reporting for sexual offences.

With accurate data, HMI believes police forces would be able to better plan responses to offending by tackling persistent problems and identifying crime hotspots better.

Concerns have remained since MPs on the Public Administration Committee condemned police crime data reporting as poor in 2014.

But Dorset has been praise for changes that include ensuring staff in the force contact centre are trained to make sure they record crimes at first point of contact. The force is also achieving high levels of crime recording accuracy overall and has an effective process to identify and rectify incorrect crime recording decisions through its crime management unit (CMU).

Dorset also has robust crime recording governance and performance management arrangements.

The force has also been able to see a 2.3% drop in recorded crime as a result of the upgrades to its processes and systems.

HM Inspectorate concluded: “The force has made good progress in improving its crime recording since our 2014 inspection. The leadership team is clearly committed to good crime recording. This has made sure that more victims receive the service they are entitled to and can access support and safeguarding where needed.”

It added: “We are confident that the force’s leadership and governance arrangements will enable it to address the remaining areas for improvement identified in this inspection.”

Dorset's Deputy Chief Constable David Lewis said: “Crime figures are important of course, but they are only one area of performance we measure. I hope this will help to reassure communities that we are working with them and our local partners to reduce crime and help people to feel safe.”  

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