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Changes to counting rules to take effect in mid-May

Further changes are expected following the NPCC’s review of police productivity which is currently ongoing.

All reported crimes for a single incident will be recorded according to a ‘principal offence’ approach as part of changes to the Home Office counting rules coming into force next month.

Though all related offences will still be investigated, this approach will seek to record the crime which has the most impact on a victim rather than make multiple entries. 

This change is one of a number which will take effect from mid-May in line with recommendations made following a review of the counting rules led by the NPCC Crime Data Integrity lead Chris Rowley.

Other changes will see officers no longer compelled to record cases of messages that may offend someone, or instances where a public disturbance occurred but has been resolved once police arrive on the scene.

The former is linked to new statutory guidance on the recording of non-crime hate incidents which is set to come into force in May.

Once the changes take effect, it will also become easier to cancel the recording of a crime when the evidence shows that none was committed.

Further changes are expected following the publication of the NPCC’s review of police productivity, which NPCC Chair Gavin Stephens says has "already identified that 443,000 officer hours are spent filling in forms and dealing with unnecessary administrative tasks".

"These equate to the equivalent of attendance at 220,000 domestic abuse incidents, 270,000 burglaries, or almost 740,000 antisocial behaviour incidents," he said.

The productivity review is expected to be published in September or October.

Separately, a new agreement is being developed between policing and health partners that aims to deliver better care for people in a mental health crisis and simultaneously free up police time. 

The new National Partnership Agreement will be underpinned by the principle that mental health incidents should receive a health response first, though some situations may still require police presence.

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