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Monday, July 04, 2022

Metropolitan Police crime figures under-report rape and violence

Just how bad the Metropolitan Police has become is starkly apparent by this report in The Times, which alleges that the force has been substantially under-recording crimes including rape, stalking and violence compared with other big police forces, raising concerns about the potential manipulation of statistics.

The paper says that the Met is recording nearly half as many rapes, one third the number of stalking offences and hundreds fewer violent incidents than West Midlands police, one of its closest counterparts, raising serious concerns about its performance, including its ability to prevent and tackle crime. The force is also recording far fewer serious offences per head of population than areas such as Manchester and Leeds:

The analysis by The Times has found that the Met is consistently recording significantly lower rates of serious crime per head of population compared with other areas.

It recorded 77 rapes per 100,000 people in the 12 months to March, nearly half the 131 in the West Midlands and substantially lower than the 113 and 116 in Greater Manchester and West Yorkshire respectively. In the year to March last year the Met recorded 83 rapes per 100,000 people compared with 123 in the West Midlands, 120 in Greater Manchester and 134 in West Yorkshire.

There was a clear difference in the recording of other sexual offences. In 2021-22 the Met has recorded fewer overall than the other forces and two thirds the number recorded by Greater Manchester — 134 compared with 192.

There were substantial anomalies in the recording of harassment and stalking. In the year to March, West Midlands and West Yorkshire police recorded 1,533 and 1,673 offences per 100,000 people, nearly three times the Met’s 573 offences.

The Met is also recording fewer violence with injury offences. It recorded 642 per 100,000 in the year to March and 731 in 2020-21. West Midlands recorded 1,052 in 2021-22 and 1,131 in 2020-21, while both Greater Manchester and West Yorkshire recorded hundreds more than the Met.

From 2014 to 2017 crime recording rates for the Met were higher or comparable with the other three forces. In 2020-21 and 20021-22 the Met’s recording has been consistently lower.

Statistics experts say that there could be other explanations. Crime recording rules are complicated and regularly change, so it is possible that other forces are inflating their figures, rather than the Met under-recording.

The inspectorate of constabulary also expressed concern about officer inexperience, which raises the possibility that newer officers do not understand the rules and are not applying them properly.

There are concerns about the way that all forces deal with sexual offences, not just the Met, but these figures highlight how much work London's police force needs to do to both win back public confidence and to get its own house in order.
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