Dear Andy,

Review of the quality of police recorded crime statistics for England and Wales

Today we published our review of the quality of police recorded crime statistics for England and Wales, produced by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

I would like to thank you and your team for your positive engagement and openness about HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Service’s (HMICFRS) inspections of crime data integrity.

Our report highlights the significant improvements to police crime recording since 2014. HMICFRS inspections have been instrumental in bringing about these improvements and in holding police forces in England and Wales to account for their crime recording standards. We consider it is essential that HMICFRS continues to carry out regular audits of crime data integrity.

Most of our recommendations are for the Home Office and the Office for National Statistics. We are calling for stronger oversight of police force data quality and better communication of the quality of the statistics.

Greater collaboration and knowledge sharing between the organisations involved in collecting and processing police recorded crime data is necessary to strengthen oversight and better communicate quality. We recommend that you work closely with the Home Office and ONS to ensure that everyone has a comprehensive and up-to-date picture of crime data integrity, and that you support ONS in its work to understand the divergence between the police recorded crime statistics and the Crime Survey for England and Wales statistics.

Our report also calls for greater collaboration and knowledge sharing between police forces, specifically, on crime recording IT systems and quality assurance arrangements, to promote best practice and greater consistency across police forces. It would be helpful if you encouraged police forces to work together more closely to support improvements to the quality of police recorded crime data.

We look forward to continuing to work with you and your team.

Yours sincerely,

Ed Humpherson