A senior West Midlands Police officer has spoken of her “shock” at claims by a former chief inspector that police offered sex and alcohol to criminals to get them to confess to crimes they hadn’t committed.
Rodger Patrick, who retired from the West Midlands Police in 2005, told a committee of MPs of alleged methods used by police to manipulate crime figures and detection rates .
These included de-categorising crimes of theft to be recorded as lost property, including a series of crimes in one location as just one crime, or claim that a victim is making up a story and that no crime existed.
Detection rates could be improved, said Mr Patrick, by rewarding prisoners with access to sex or alcohol if they confessed to crimes they hadn’t committed.
Sometimes criminals would be invited to confess to less serious offences they hadn’t committed, which would then be “taken into consideration” by a court, rather than punished.
But Temporary Deputy Chief Constable Sharon Rowe insisted that West Midlands Police recorded crimes in line with Home Office rules and that the claims by Mr Patrick referred to events of nine years ago.
She said: “Allegations were made at a Commons inquiry yesterday suggesting police officers offered inducements to criminals in order to improve crime detection rates.
“These allegations date back a decade having been raised in November 2004 ? and resulted in three officers being disciplined.
“I am very disappointed these historic claims have been used as evidence at a parliamentary hearing many years after they were initially raised and investigated. In no way do these allegations reflect upon the way West Midlands Police currently operates.”
She continued: “West Midlands Police has a dedicated audit team in place, overseen by an appointed Force Crime Registrar, to ensure that all recording processes are in line with Home Office counting rules and the National Crime Recording Standard.
“West Midlands Police has introduced a Crime Services Team that has dedicated staff specifically trained in all aspects of crime recording to ensure standards are met and maintained.”
“The most recent review of WMP crime data by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary found that the force had clear and purposeful leadership in this area and that mechanisms of accountability were in place – with a well-managed, proportionate, robust and effective audit regime.
“The West Midlands Police Crime Registrar has also been working closely with HMIC, along with colleagues from a selection of other forces, to help inform and shape the national Crime Data Integrity inspection which is due to take place soon.
“Operation Sentinel, a major current campaign tackling often under-reported offences like domestic abuse, demonstrates our commitment to proactively seek vulnerable victims and encourage reporting.
“Through this proactive stance, we are now giving more victims the confidence and reassurance to come forward and report these crimes.
“It is vitally important in the interests of public confidence that we are open and transparent about the way in which we record crimes, which is why I fully support and encourage any external scrutiny into our practices.”