Herts Police have responded to a report which revealed an ‘alarming’ level of under-reported crimes among its force.
Last week’s Gazette revealed the findings of the inquiry by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary, which also suggested there was a ‘reluctance’ among Herts officers to record reports of rape until they have a full explanation from the victim.
The inspection was carried out in April 2013, and Herts Police is keen to point out it has since made changes to its recording practices to ensure they comply with national rules.
A spokesman for the county constabulary said: “It is very important to be clear that, despite not always recording sexual offences according to the strict national criteria at the time of the inspection, we always focussed on the needs of victims and made every effort to deal with offenders.
“Our dedicated, specialist sexual offences investigation team was the first in the country when it was set up in 2008. Praised by HMIC, we recognise that rape and sexual offences are devastating crimes and take all reports of sexual assault extremely seriously.”
According to the force, ‘no crimes’ can occur when overwhelming evidence and a thorough investigation has determined an offence did not occur. However, it says all reports are investigated to a high level and are given a crime reference number straight away.
The spokesman added: “We have worked hard to both focus on reduction of crime whilst at the same time encouraging victims of rape and sexual offences to report them. We need to reassure victims to come forward, as we will conduct a full and thorough investigation.
“We believe we record rape and sexual offence crimes, and all of our crime figures,with integrity as this is essential for public confidence and ensuring that police and partner agency resources are deployed in the most effective way.”
Herts Policehas confirmed it is committed to improving in this vital area following results of the inspection.