Joyce demands action on over 3,300 unrecorded crimes in Dyfed-Powys each year
“Get a grip” warning to Dyfed Powys police leadership: “Stop letting down the victims of abuse”
Joyce Watson AM used a National Assembly for Wales debate to call for action to support victims of crime, who can be denied access to support services if crimes are not correctly recorded.
She warned Dyfed Powys’ police leadership and Police and Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn to “Get a grip and stop letting down the victims of abuse.”
Mrs Watson AM spoke out following a damning report which showed Dyfed-Powys police failing to record over 12 percent of total reported crimes.
An independent inspection checked the last four years and found that more than 3,300 reported crimes are not recorded by Dyfed-Powys Police every year, including sexual offences, public order and violence offences.
Of the 3,300 overall crimes unrecorded by Dyfed-Powys Police each year, there were 1,500 violent crimes, 70 sex offences, 66 out of 283 domestic abuse cases, and seven vulnerable victim cases.
During inspections where each force had their crime data checked, HM Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMICFRS) found there was a failure to properly record more than 8,400 crimes in total in Dyfed-Powys and Gwent Police, which failed to record more than 5,100 reported crimes in south east Wales.
Speaking in an Assembly debate for International Human Rights Day, December 10, Joyce Watson AM said:
“International Human Rights Day marks the end of the 16 days of activism against gender-based violence. I’ve been campaigning with the Women’s Institute—both here, and in Aberystwyth, and across the region—within those two weeks, pushing the respect agenda into all communities. And the white ribbon campaign asks people to pledge to never commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women.
“But that message is undercut if, when people do come forward, the police fail to act properly. So, I was a little bit dismayed last week to learn that, according to the Criminal Justice Inspectorates, 8,400 crimes have not been properly recorded by Dyfed-Powys and Gwent police. And I want to focus on Dyfed-Powys as it covers most of my region.
“Of the 3,300 reported crimes not recorded annually, 1,500 are violent crimes, 70 are sex offences, seven are vulnerable victim cases and 66 are cases of domestic abuse—nearly a quarter of all reported crime. In many cases, victims will only be able to access support services when a crime is recorded, so this is a serious failure, and I expect the police leadership and police and crime commissioners to get a grip and to stop letting down the victims of abuse. Within this country, they have a fundamental human right to protection.”
Speaking after the debate she added:
“How can we tackle violent crime when it isn’t being properly recorded?
“Some victims of crime are unable to access support due to failure to record crime.
“It is shocking to discover that 66 out of 283 domestic abuse cases in south west Wales are not recorded properly.
“In April, Hollie Kerrell, a mum-of-three from Knighton, was murdered by her husband. Every week in England and Wales, two women are killed by a man they know. Thousands more – one in four – will experience violence at the hands of a partner.
“We need systems in place and good men to come forward to end the cycle of violence. For Hollie it is too late. For her sake let’s pledge to live up to the White Ribbon promise to never commit, condone or remain silent about abuse.”
According to a BBC Wales news report, Dyfed-Powys had made a “concerted effort” to record crime more accurately since the last report in 2014, particularly in dealing with more complicated crimes like modern slavery and sexual offences, HM Inspector of Constabulary Wendy Williams found.
But it was a “cause of concern” that the recording rate for violent crime was only 84.4% and the report said the force must improve.
Ms Williams said:
“In many cases, victims only get the right to essential support services when a crime is recorded.
“That’s why I was concerned to see that the force consistently missed crimes related to domestic abuse, stalking and harassment off the book.”
The inspection suggested that officers and staff not understanding the crime-recording rules led to the failures, made worse by limited supervision to correct these decisions as soon as possible.