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Sophie Cameron

Features and Opinion Editor, Solicitors Journal

Home Office announces changes to police crime recording processes

Home Office announces changes to police crime recording processes


Changes to processes estimated to save substantial amount of police time

The UK government’s Home Office announced new rules on 13 April, which are intended to free up police time in order to prioritise the victims of crime and pursue criminals by cutting unnecessary red tape when recording crime. The National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) estimates that the changes will save 443,000 hours of police time per year.

The new rules to address duplicate and unnecessary record keeping within the police force, follows findings by the NPCC’s Policing Productivity Review which has found, among other things, that over 443,000 officer hours could have been better used by reducing duplication, removing unnecessary administrative tasks and simplifying the process for cancelling unsubstantiated crime reports.

The changes, which will come into force in the coming weeks following recommendations to be issued by the NPCC lead for Crime Data Integrity, aim to: standardise counting rules with the ‘principal offence’ approach across the board, to record the crime which has the most impact on a victim; save police time by no longer recording cases of messages that might offend someone or where a public disturbance occurred but has been resolved, which will require sign-off by a supervisor; and make it easier to cancel recording of a crime where there’s enough evidence that none was committed, the sign-off required in this regard will depend on the gravity of the offence.

In practice, the changes will mean that all reported crimes for a single incident will be recorded under the ‘principal offence’, rather than as multiple entries on a database that effectively duplicates the incident. As such the changes intend to establish a more consistent and accurate approach to the recording of all offences by the police. In addition, the changes will make sure that the most serious charges against an individual are placed at the forefront of the investigation, so that perpetrators face the highest possible penalties.

Interim Lead for the NPCC Policing Productivity Review, Alan Pughsley QPM, said: “The Policing Productivity Review has been working closely with the Home Office, victims’ groups, and charities to reduce bureaucracy and simplify how we record crime to help refocus police efforts on preventing crime, keeping people safe and catching criminals. Evaluation by the review has shown that over 443,000 officer hours could be better used through a reduction in duplication, simplifying the process for cancelling crime reports when they are not substantiated. This work will ensure that officers can be more productive and spend more time on local priorities and activity that will give victims the service they deserve.”