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15 January 2019, 07:08 | Updated: 15 January 2019, 07:10
West Midlands Police, one of England's biggest police forces, is failing to record more than 16,600 violent crimes each year, a watchdog has claimed.
Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) rated West Midlands Police as "inadequate" for the way
it records violent crime and sexual offences.
It found that 78.2% of violent crime and 89.2% of sexual offences reported to the force were recorded.
The report said: "The recording rates for violent crime and sexual offences remain a cause of concern.
"Too often the force is still failing victims of crime, including domestic abuse victims."
It went on: "By our estimate the force is now failing to record over 16,600 violent crimes that are reported to it each year.
"As violent crime can be particularly distressing for the victim, and many of these crimes involve injury, the recording rate remains
unacceptable and must be urgently addressed."
Inspectors were not able to look at other types of crime because the force is updating its systems.
Bosses at West Midlands Police hit back at the findings, with Deputy Chief Constable Louisa Rolfe claiming the watchdog had failed to
recognise the force's strengths in recording crime overall.
She said: "It is frustrating that, despite substantial progress, our grading has remained as inadequate.
"This report focuses upon our inspection of reports of violent crime and sexual offences.
"It does not include the results of other crimes, and consequently it has not recognised the force's overall crime recording from which we
have good, reliable crime accuracy."
WMP was rated as inadequate for recording crime in 2017, and re-examined for violent crime and sexual offences in 2018, with inspectors
auditing a sample of reports from March 1 to May 31.
Of the 2,176 reports of crime audited, 470 related to domestic abuse. Of these 354 were recorded.
"The 116 not recorded included 95 offences classed as violent such as common assaults, ABH, harassment and malicious communications.
The report said: "We found several examples of attending officers letting down victims by simply not believing them.
"Some incident logs contained closing comments that were completely different to the initial call and recorded no crime, without an
Ms Rolfe said the force was confident that its current position is "much improved", and said it cannot be criticised for failing to pump more
resources into crime recording.
"We were particularly disappointed to hear that inspectors assessed a decision to not invest additional resources in crime recording teams as
a failure to improve," she said.
"HMICFRS consistently assess our efficiency in the use of resources as good or outstanding, i.e, we are making best use of what we've got,
yet they also identify that we do not have enough call handlers, response officers, investigators or public protection specialists to deal with
"In these circumstances I would question where these additional crime administrators might be found."