‘Num­ber of fac­tors caused crime rise’

Po­lice chief says of­fi­cers are now record­ing more in­ci­dents

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS - By Will Ack­er­mann will.ack­er­mann@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

CRIME is up 14 per cent in Hilling­don which is largely down to higher lev­els of record­ing, the bor­ough’s po­lice com­man­der is claim­ing.

Of­fi­cial Metropoli­tan Po­lice data shows that over the last fi­nan­cial year, the to­tal num­ber of no­ti­fi­able of­fences recorded in the bor­ough shot up at dou­ble the rate of any other in Lon­don – from 19,268 to 21,975

But Nick Down­ing told the Gazette more than 70 per cent of this in­crease was down to of­fi­cers record­ing crimes they pre­vi­ously would not have, rather than a rise in ac­tual crime lev­els.

He said: “Yes, the in­crease was sig­nif­i­cant. Yes, it was the worst in the Met, [but] there are a num­ber of fac­tors that have caused that and al­ready this year we are see­ing that re­duce, so that’s a pos­i­tive.”

Mr Down­ing, who took over as the bor­ough’s po­lice com­man­der a year ago, said much of the an­nual in­crease was driven by a sharp rise in the num­ber of vi­o­lent crimes recorded.

The num­ber of recorded crimes cat­e­gorised as ‘vi­o­lence against the per­son’ in­creased by 38 per cent over the 12 months to March 31, from 5,035 in 2013/14 to 6,927 in 2014/15.

Mr Down­ing said his force recorded a higher pro­por­tion of vi­o­lence al­le­ga­tions as crimes than any other Lon­don bor­ough, ac­count­ing for a sig­nif­i­cant part of the over­all rise.

He added: “Am I con­cerned about the sig­nif­i­cant in­crease in crime? Of course I am. Do I un­der­stand why it’s hap­pened? Yes I do.”

Mr Down­ing said his of­fi­cers had been or­dered to im­prove their record­ing of crime fol­low­ing the pub­li­ca­tion of two re­ports last year.

The first was an in­ter­nal re­view cir­cu­lated af­ter Hayes handy­man Paul Thrower was mur­dered in Fe­bru­ary 2014. Mr Down­ing said this debrief had iden­ti­fied po­lice record­ing as an is­sue.

The sec­ond was a re­port pub­lished in May last year, which found ev­i­dence of ‘sig­nif­i­cant un­der­record­ing’ of crime by po­lice forces through­out the UK.

Mr Down­ing said: “As a di­rect re­sponse, the level of record­ing went up, as it should. When some­one makes an al­le­ga­tion of crime we are duty-bound to record that. That is now oc­cur­ring.”

Mr Down­ing also pointed to cer­tain crime cat­e­gories for which the num­ber of recorded of­fences had dropped, such as rob­bery and bur­glary.

He said it was dif­fi­cult to as­sess the ef­fec­tive­ness of po­lice ini­tia­tives for re­duc­ing crime while the level of record­ing was con­tin­u­ing to im­prove, as causal­ity was hard to de­ter­mine.

He added: “At some point we will hit that peak on that record­ing, so then when we put in re­duc­tion and pre­ven­tion ini­tia­tives, we’ll ac­tu­ally un­der­stand what we’re do­ing is ef­fec­tive.”


Bor­ough com­man­der Nick Down­ing

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