In a week where shocking figures have revealed that one in five crimes reported to police may go unrecorded the Sussex force has defended its record.
The findings by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary have been condemned by the Home Secretary and described as “indefensible” and “inexcusably poor”.
The picture was worse for sexual offences with a quarter of these crimes unrecorded, including 37 rapes.
Failing to record a crime as a crime has serious consequences because it means it is unlikely to be investigated, with offenders unpunished and victims let down.
Yet the Sussex Force says it “welcomes” the report despite having recording standards of 83 percent of reported crime - well behind the top forces in the country which were all in the nineties.
West Midlands was top with 99% and Lincolnshire next with 98%
The worst force in the country was Hampshire (60%).
Sussex Police has said its figure has now increased to nearly 97% following action to raise the standards of crime and incident reporting, taking in best practice from other forces.
Deputy Chief Constable Olivia Pinkney said: “We take the findings of the audit extremely seriously and are determined to do everything possible to ensure crimes are recorded accurately.
“Before I had this report we had carried out a full internal review and discovered there was quite a lack of understanding among our staff of some of the crime recording rules.
“We took this very seriously. As a result of that review we have put in place a very comprehensive plan to raise the general standard of crime and incident recording.
“Our own audit process shows that there have been considerable improvements in the overall level of compliance with the standards, which now make us sit just short of 97% compliance, which I’m really pleased with.
“Ethical and accurate crime recording is of primary importance, not just to see how we can be held accountable for the effectiveness of our crime-fighting capability and serve the public but also to enable the efficient tasking and co-ordinating of resources to prevent crime.”
She added: “It’s important to remember in most cases victims would not have seen a difference in the service they received as their crime would still have been investigated regardless of whether it was correctly recorded.
“The recording process is really important but a lot of what is does is administrative and sometimes we have not done that well enough.
“We now have a detailed forcewide plan in place to continue this improvement and monitor performance.”