Police Say They Are Forced To Record Trivial Incidents As Serious Crimes
A police force which has come under scrutiny for recording trivial incidents, including one incident of ABH recorded when a woman threw a biscuit at a man leaving a small red mark on the victim, has said that it often has no choice but to record the crimes in such a way. They have said that they do not always record or prosecute, and that their hands are tied because of the way in which crimes need to be reported.
Norfolk Police recently reported a 14% rise in crime, and the force’s Police and Crime Commissioner Stephen Bett was concerned about the increase so asked for an explanation. He was told that because of the way that the police now have to record certain crimes, it meant that there had been a substantial increase in crime rates for the force.
Mr Bett was given some examples of these crimes, including one where a woman threw a biscuit at a man and because it left a red mark it was recorded as an incident of ABH. Bett said that he found the reporting of some incidents as “jaw-dropping”. Anther incident that had to be reported as a violent crime included a person being brushed with stinging nettles, and another including the receipt of a text message.
He also highlighted the fact that malicious communications must now be included in the violent crime reporting figures. This means that an additional 183 offences have fallen under the category of violent crime, despite involving a phone call or text message. While such communication may be considered harassing or threatening, a phone call or text message cannot be considered violent in itself.
Deputy Chief Constable Charlie Hall defended his force, saying that they have to record crimes according to HMIC standards. He said that just because a crime is recorded as being violent or threatening, does not mean that they follow up by chasing down suspects or prosecuting a person for the action taken. Crimes are recorded according to policies set out by the Home Secretary.