Inspectors say Greater Manchester police are letting down victims of crime after discovering that the force has not been recording one in five of all reported crimes nor one in four violent crimes.
In a damning report on the service that GMP provides victims of crime, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) found “serious cause for concern”.
The force, the second largest in England, has been led since October 2015 by Ian Hopkins, the chief constable, overseeing 6,866 officers. The force failed to record an estimated 80,100 crimes reported to it between 1 July 2019 and 30 June 2020, amounting to about 220 crimes a day, the inspectors said.
A higher proportion of violent crime was not recorded, including domestic abuse and behavioural crimes, such as harassment, stalking and coercive, controlling behaviour.
Inspectors estimated that the force recorded 77.7% of reported crimes, a drop of 11.3 percentage points from 2018. HMICFRS said the force wrongly closed some investigations, including some with vulnerable victims.
HM inspector of constabulary Zoe Billingham said: “Victims of crime are too often being let down by Greater Manchester police. The service provided to victims, particularly those who are most vulnerable, is a serious cause of concern.
“This is extremely disappointing given that HMICFRS has been urging Greater Manchester police to improve in this area since 2016. Failure to record crimes potentially prevents victims from receiving the justice and support they need.
“I am deeply troubled about how frequently the force is closing cases without a full investigation, giving the reason that the victim did not support police action. In too many of these cases, the force didn’t properly record evidence that the victim supported this decision – particularly in cases of domestic abuse, where seven in 10 are closed on this basis.
“While it is simply not good enough that these concerns have not been addressed for over four years, I acknowledge that the force is taking action to address these deficiencies.”
Inspectors said that “in too many cases” there was no evidence to confirm that victims’ wishes had been properly considered before investigations were closed, and inspectors could not be sure that victims were properly safeguarded and provided with the right service or support.
GMP is investing in infrastructure to centralise its crime recording and is introducing a new assessment to ensure that more vulnerable victims are identified.
The GMP deputy chief constable, Ian Pilling, said the force was disappointed by some of the report’s findings, “particularly where we let victims down”. He added: “However, I want to reassure the public that we treat this matter very seriously. We have a long-term strategic plan in place to address these issues and we are determined to make whatever other short-term improvements we need to make, and to make them as quickly as possible.”