Victims of crime being let down by Tory Police Commissioner

Today’s HMIC report on crime recording by Devon and Cornwall rates Devon and Cornwall Police as “inadequate” and declares it unacceptable that the force records so few of the most dangerous crimes including violence, rape and other sexual offences. It says only 76% of violent crimes are being recorded, leaving over 17,000 crimes off the books, and that Devon and Cornwall Police are “failing victims of crime”.

Gareth Derrick, the Labour candidate for the Police Commissioner role at last year’s election commented:

“It is a tragedy that so many victims of crime are being let down, and that the offenders are not being dealt with by our Police, even after strong warnings by HMIC in their 2014 report. Given that HMIC are calling for immediate action, the lukewarm response of Deputy Chief Constable James Vaughan, saying he will ‘look at areas we can improve and how we can use this learning to improve the service’ tells me that the force still don’t take this seriously. I have serious concerns that not recording crime may be an institutional practice. 

“I made clear my beliefs in the campaign last year, that crime was not falling but was under-reported, and now HMIC have put that on record. Meanwhile our Commissioner Alison Hernandez published a report just six days ago saying that recording of rape and sexual offences was meeting her expectations.  

“Alison Hernandez’s Policing plan was published 2 weeks ago without proper scrutiny, saying it was co-produced by her and the Chief Constable. Crime recording barely gets a mention and she deliberately excluded performance targets about it. She has clearly established an over-cosy relationship with the Chief Constable and is failing to hold him to account. Time and time again her judgment comes under question. She needs to drop her ambition to make everything look rosy in these difficult times and get on with the gritty challenge of keeping our people safe.”   

Cllr Philippa Davey, Labour’s Shadow Cabinet member for Safer Communities and a member of the Devon & Cornwall Police and Crime Panel said:

“I fully endorse Gareth’s comments and am extremely disappointed with the findings of the Inspection as our panel were assured by Ms Hernandez that the issues were being dealt with. Now that we have learned many crimes, predominantly against women, children and vulnerable adults, are going unrecorded. This causes me great concern, especially when victim care is a peninsula-wide priority.

“That’s why I’m calling on my fellow councillors to hold an emergency Police and Crime Panel Meeting without delay.”