Police officers under "massive pressure" not to record crime

POLICE in the region are coming under “massive pressure” not to record all crime incidents, a police federation boss has claimed amid fears that falling crime figures are misleading.

The comments from Cleveland Police Federation chair Steve Matthews support national concerns that budget cuts and pressure to hit targets have prompted police officers to exaggerate the rate at which crime has fallen in the last five years.

Figures released yesterday by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that recorded crime was down eight per cent in the North-East in the year to September 2012, compared to the previous 12 months.

Crime was down five per cent in the Cleveland Police area, nine per cent in Durham and ten per cent in Northumbria.

In North Yorkshire, the annual report showed a nine per cent drop in recorded crime.

The figures reveal that almost every type of crime fell in all four police areas in the region, with one of the few exceptions being fraud and forgery which increased in Cleveland and North Yorkshire.

However, Mr Matthews claimed the newly released figures for his force were not a true reflection of the levels of crime in the area.

He added: “There’s massive pressure on officers not to take reports of crime and I find that really worrying.

“I don’t want to worry the people of Cleveland but I think we’ve got to be honest and realistic about what’s happening.”

Cleveland Police announced a reorganisation earlier this week with 300 officers due to go by 2014.

Mr Matthews added: “If there are fewer boots on the ground you’re reported incidents are not going to be as high because you will have fewer people looking out for inquisitive crime.”

In response, Cleveland Police Temporary Assistant Chief Constable Adrian Roberts said crime recording was “heavily regulated and frequently audited”.

He added: “The context of the police federation’s comments is an understandable concern about the impact of falling police officer numbers, but there is no evidence of practices in Cleveland having changed, and I am totally clear with all officers that crime needs to be recorded ethically and in accordance with the national rules: integrity is non-negotiable.

“It is also fair to say that none of the concerns now expressed have been raised by the federation with me, despite recent opportunities to do so, and I am surprised at their questioning the integrity of their members.”

Nationally, police records have appeared to overstate the true rate at which crime has been falling by failing to take into account 400,000 offences, the ONS said.

A target culture was behind the discrepancy as police officers come under an informal pressure to slash crime, ONS experts claimed.

Labour yesterday called for reassurance that spending cuts were not behind the fall in recorded offences - but the Coalition insisted police forces had reduced crime on lower budgets.

Comments (10)

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8:21am Fri 25 Jan 13

Madadrian says...

It isn't worth reporting most crime because the police will not do anything. The last time I reported a crime was 15 years ago when my car was smashed up causing over £2000 worth of damage which was not covered by insurance. My immediate neighbours suffered similar loss.

I spent more time producing driving documents than the police did on finding the culprit. They just weren't bothered. Their expectation was that vehicle damage was covered by insurance so they need not do anything.

Since then we have suffered petty theft and vandalism. The last timewas a little over a year ago when we had a car window broken in an attempt to get into the glove compartment. I merely paid a bit over a hundred pounds for repair and put it behind me.
It isn't worth reporting most crime because the police will not do anything. The last time I reported a crime was 15 years ago when my car was smashed up causing over £2000 worth of damage which was not covered by insurance. My immediate neighbours suffered similar loss. I spent more time producing driving documents than the police did on finding the culprit. They just weren't bothered. Their expectation was that vehicle damage was covered by insurance so they need not do anything. Since then we have suffered petty theft and vandalism. The last timewas a little over a year ago when we had a car window broken in an attempt to get into the glove compartment. I merely paid a bit over a hundred pounds for repair and put it behind me. Madadrian

9:48am Fri 25 Jan 13

the-big-yin says...

SAME OVER OUR AREA..CROOK...CRIME IS SPIRALING, DRUG DEALING IS RIFE, BURGLARIES ARE HAPPENING ALL OVER THE TOWN....REPORT DRUG DEALERS ON YOUR ESTATE AND NOTHING GETS DONE ABOUT IT.....POLICE DO NOT CARE ANYMORE.....AND THEY SHOULD NOT BLAME THE CUTS...IF YOU SEE MORE POLICE WALKING INSTEAD OF RIDING AROUND DOING NOTHING THEN IT MAY IMPROVE....THE POLICE KNOW WHO THESE DRUG DEALERS ARE BUT LET THEM GET AWAY WITH IT....
SAME OVER OUR AREA..CROOK...CRIME IS SPIRALING, DRUG DEALING IS RIFE, BURGLARIES ARE HAPPENING ALL OVER THE TOWN....REPORT DRUG DEALERS ON YOUR ESTATE AND NOTHING GETS DONE ABOUT IT.....POLICE DO NOT CARE ANYMORE.....AND THEY SHOULD NOT BLAME THE CUTS...IF YOU SEE MORE POLICE WALKING INSTEAD OF RIDING AROUND DOING NOTHING THEN IT MAY IMPROVE....THE POLICE KNOW WHO THESE DRUG DEALERS ARE BUT LET THEM GET AWAY WITH IT.... the-big-yin

10:41am Fri 25 Jan 13

Homshaw1 says...

I know from personal experience that lots of crime is simply not recorded.

This coupled with people's perception that it is a waste of time reporting it is the reason crime numbers are down.

In reality it is probably increasing.
I know from personal experience that lots of crime is simply not recorded. This coupled with people's perception that it is a waste of time reporting it is the reason crime numbers are down. In reality it is probably increasing. Homshaw1

10:56am Fri 25 Jan 13

Daza says...

Tell you what.

Lets abolish the Police service. Get lots of security guards in who don't give a s..t Who will work the exact hours they are supposed to work. Then bring the private sector in who will want to make money from speeding tickets etc. etc.

Then lets sit around and watch the country go to rat s..t, then lets see how many people will complain then. This is another excuse to slag the Police off.

Recorded crime is down for many reasons, People not bothering to ring up, Govt. setting targets to justify their cuts, Police bosses under pressure to keep it down, Police officers under pressure not to record crime as the article suggests.

I would suggest that if Judges and Magistrates actually jailed more people, you know, protect the people of this country, crime would 'fall' even further.

I find it hard to believe that crime is actually down when you put into perspective the problems this country faces.
Tell you what. Lets abolish the Police service. Get lots of security guards in who don't give a s..t Who will work the exact hours they are supposed to work. Then bring the private sector in who will want to make money from speeding tickets etc. etc. Then lets sit around and watch the country go to rat s..t, then lets see how many people will complain then. This is another excuse to slag the Police off. Recorded crime is down for many reasons, People not bothering to ring up, Govt. setting targets to justify their cuts, Police bosses under pressure to keep it down, Police officers under pressure not to record crime as the article suggests. I would suggest that if Judges and Magistrates actually jailed more people, you know, protect the people of this country, crime would 'fall' even further. I find it hard to believe that crime is actually down when you put into perspective the problems this country faces. Daza

1:10pm Fri 25 Jan 13

Five 0 says...

There is lots of hot air coming out of Cleveland Police, but lets face it nothing changes. You never see a cop on the streets.

Cleveland say that they are cutting back on officers, yet they still have expensive Cleveland Follies:

A. The helicopter (white elephant)
B. Large expensive cars for the chiefs.
C.The Donkeys with private stables
D. Expensive outside consultants.

Why spend a fortune on keeping the Donkeys and their private stables open, when those pc's could spend more time out on the streets instead of giving the donkeys a rub down and a feed for half their shift?

How much does keeping the donkeys cost and the helicopter cost each year?

How many officers would it save if the Cleveland Follies were removed?

I keep hearing lots of hot air but see no action, only another council tax rise to pay for the expensive Cleveland follies.

Can the Echo find out just what each Folly department costs per year, or are Cleveland Police too embarrased to tell the public what its costing?

Estimates being mentioned say that the private helicopter costs £2m and the Donkey squad cost a further £1m in feed and vets.

What are the perks with the new chiefs £140,000 salary? Is another £50,000 private car in the mix?

I wonder if they will give any answers or will it be more spin.
There is lots of hot air coming out of Cleveland Police, but lets face it nothing changes. You never see a cop on the streets. Cleveland say that they are cutting back on officers, yet they still have expensive Cleveland Follies: A. The helicopter (white elephant) B. Large expensive cars for the chiefs. C.The Donkeys with private stables D. Expensive outside consultants. Why spend a fortune on keeping the Donkeys and their private stables open, when those pc's could spend more time out on the streets instead of giving the donkeys a rub down and a feed for half their shift? How much does keeping the donkeys cost and the helicopter cost each year? How many officers would it save if the Cleveland Follies were removed? I keep hearing lots of hot air but see no action, only another council tax rise to pay for the expensive Cleveland follies. Can the Echo find out just what each Folly department costs per year, or are Cleveland Police too embarrased to tell the public what its costing? Estimates being mentioned say that the private helicopter costs £2m and the Donkey squad cost a further £1m in feed and vets. What are the perks with the new chiefs £140,000 salary? Is another £50,000 private car in the mix? I wonder if they will give any answers or will it be more spin. Five 0

2:22pm Fri 25 Jan 13

stevegg says...

What goes down must eventually go up again. Of course the figures are manipulated especially in times of austerity; the government is never going to say crime is rising whilst implementing the biggest cuts made in the police's history. Are they seriously trying to suggest all the repeat offenders who are no longer jailed when convicted are going straight and that they are learning from these soft option community 'punishments'? There is also the fact as has been pointed out that more people dont report crime than actually do, if all crime was actually reported then the police service as we know it would collapse as they wouldnt have the resources to investigate everything. The officers I know are telling me they are under more beurocracy than ever before and are expected to go to the enth degree to solve a crime from managers who are only interested in figures and numbers. One thing is for sure this downturn of figures will not go on forever no matter how they are manipulated and then we will see the true picture emerging!!
What goes down must eventually go up again. Of course the figures are manipulated especially in times of austerity; the government is never going to say crime is rising whilst implementing the biggest cuts made in the police's history. Are they seriously trying to suggest all the repeat offenders who are no longer jailed when convicted are going straight and that they are learning from these soft option community 'punishments'? There is also the fact as has been pointed out that more people dont report crime than actually do, if all crime was actually reported then the police service as we know it would collapse as they wouldnt have the resources to investigate everything. The officers I know are telling me they are under more beurocracy than ever before and are expected to go to the enth degree to solve a crime from managers who are only interested in figures and numbers. One thing is for sure this downturn of figures will not go on forever no matter how they are manipulated and then we will see the true picture emerging!! stevegg

3:55pm Fri 25 Jan 13

st-george1 says...

I, like many others have issues with Police federation politically-motivate
d people trying to justify what is happening in today’s world and they wonder why mr-and-mrs-public hold them in such contempt … it could be that by the nature of their behaviour, they make it easy !
When some senior officer tells us crime-recording is heavily regulated and frequently audited, something is wrong and we should all be worried because this seems to bear no relationship to REPORTED crimes or the ONS survey of the VICTIMS that suggests that all crime is NOT falling and even saying that the figures may have been exaggerated !

Apparently 10 years ago under the Blair Labour Government, new methods of counting crimes were introduced to sort out INCONSISTENCIES between police forces TO ensure that when a VICTIM reported a crime, it was properly logged and counted …
The rule-changes came about after huge variations were found in crime-reporting-reco
rding rates BUT since 2007 there had been a marked discrepancy that questioned whether the police has become lax OR they were deliberately fiddling the figures …
Question is ... are the police doing more with less or is it simply the affect of the threat of redundancy that improves work-rate and absenteeism or less attention to their second job … one thing that applies to us all is that integrity is non-negotiable.
I, like many others have issues with Police federation politically-motivate d people trying to justify what is happening in today’s world and they wonder why mr-and-mrs-public hold them in such contempt … it could be that by the nature of their behaviour, they make it easy ! When some senior officer tells us crime-recording is heavily regulated and frequently audited, something is wrong and we should all be worried because this seems to bear no relationship to REPORTED crimes or the ONS survey of the VICTIMS that suggests that all crime is NOT falling and even saying that the figures may have been exaggerated ! Apparently 10 years ago under the Blair Labour Government, new methods of counting crimes were introduced to sort out INCONSISTENCIES between police forces TO ensure that when a VICTIM reported a crime, it was properly logged and counted … The rule-changes came about after huge variations were found in crime-reporting-reco rding rates BUT since 2007 there had been a marked discrepancy that questioned whether the police has become lax OR they were deliberately fiddling the figures … Question is ... are the police doing more with less or is it simply the affect of the threat of redundancy that improves work-rate and absenteeism or less attention to their second job … one thing that applies to us all is that integrity is non-negotiable. st-george1

5:19pm Fri 25 Jan 13

Jonn says...

Does anyone seriously believe that crime in the North East has fallen by 8% in a year? Come on, that kind of rate is laughable and in itself should be investigated. People have NOT been reporting crimes for years where I live, what's the point.
Does anyone seriously believe that crime in the North East has fallen by 8% in a year? Come on, that kind of rate is laughable and in itself should be investigated. People have NOT been reporting crimes for years where I live, what's the point. Jonn

5:30pm Fri 25 Jan 13

Daza says...

Exactly,

Where I live is becoming like the Wild West by the day!
Exactly, Where I live is becoming like the Wild West by the day! Daza

6:21pm Fri 25 Jan 13

spragger says...

Crime has fallen, its after we took the lead out of petrol. Nothing to do with the Police, who are benign at best.
Only good for buying high powered cars and the latest high tech gizmos, at the taxpayers expense, none of which catch criminals.

Look it up .. .
Crime has fallen, its after we took the lead out of petrol. Nothing to do with the Police, who are benign at best. Only good for buying high powered cars and the latest high tech gizmos, at the taxpayers expense, none of which catch criminals. Look it up .. . spragger

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