New Crime Recording Methods Should Give All a Fairer Picture; CHIEF CONSTABLE: Benchmark Year Will See Figures Rise as Emphasis Shifts, but Overall Trend Is Down

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From April 2002 South Wales Police will adopt new procedures for recording crime.

This is in line with all forces in England and Wales, and the intention is to provide a common standard of crime recording that will enable valid comparisons to be made between forces.

The National Crime Recording Standard has been produced by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) following research by ACPO, the Home Office and Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary, which highlighted a lack of consistency in crime recording practices between police forces.

Sir Anthony Burden, Chief Constable of South Wales Police said, "The new standard has been created to eliminate ambiguities in the current rules for recording crime. Based on a victim-centred approach, the new standard is designed to encourage victims to report crime, and will enable more consistency in the way forces record it."

In the current system, there must be some evidence to indicate that a crime has taken place before it can be recorded. The new system will mean that if a victim believes a crime has been committed, then it will be recorded as one.

For South Wales Police the change to the National Crime Recording Standard has coincided with a move to a central crime recording facility, an initiative that is also intended to improve the standard of service to the public.

"Research has shown that, where staff are dedicated solely to crime recording, there is a greater uniformity and consistency to the process, " said Sir Anthony.

"It is anticipated that by April 1 this year, the new Crime Information Service Bureau, based at Bridgend Police Station, will see all crimes reported in the Force area being recorded by specialist staff, although reporting a crime at a local police station will still be an option."

The introduction of this new standard, means a likely increase in the number of some crimes being recorded. Although this is expected to be at the lower level of crime, such as minor theft, criminal damage and common assault, it will have an impact on overall crime figures.

In the past, such crimes will have been recorded by the police, but in other ways. …