UK

Some truth to claims over crime figures, says Met

Sir Bernard Hogan Howe Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe took control of the Met in 2011

There is a "truth" to allegations by a police whistleblower that crime statistics were massaged, the UK's most senior commanding officer has said.

Met Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe said an investigation into the claims would report within six months.

He was facing questions from MPs on the Public Administration Select Committee.

Metropolitan Police officer James Patrick has alleged rape and sexual offences were being under-reported by as much as a quarter.

PC Patrick, who is currently subject to disciplinary proceedings by the force, told the committee in November that crimes had been reclassified to get them "off the books".

Massaging figures to hit performance targets had become "an engrained part of policing culture", he said.

The officer had found disparities between the numbers of burglary reports and those finally recorded while working in a specialist role looking at the recording of crime.

He had also found that "the Met had effectively been under-recording rape and serious sexual offences by between 22% and 25%".

'Biggest scandal'

Met Commissioner Sir Bernard told the committee some of the claims were "worthy of further investigation" but that he needed "to hear more detail".

He labelled some of the allegations incomplete, adding: "On occasion there might be some inaccuracy but I think on the whole there's a truth there we need to hear."

The commissioner said he had not spoken to PC Patrick about his claims but that the Met would in due course.

He refused to comment on the details of the misconduct allegations.

An internal inquiry, led by deputy commissioner Craig Mackey, has been launched into around 20 claims made by the officer.

"If he has been making these claims for a long time it would have been best they were resolved before now," Sir Bernard added.

Tom Winsor, who as Chief Inspector of Constabulary for England and Wales, is leading an inquiry into crime statistics, told the committee he was in no doubt it would uncover "some fiddling of the figures".

Arguing "it was just human nature" for people in all sorts of organisations to fiddle figures in order to make their performance targets look good, he said he did not believe any "institutional corruption" would be discovered.

Elsewhere, former commissioner Lord Stevens has said "fiddling of figures" has been going on since he joined the police.

He told the Home Affairs Select Committee on Tuesday that officers had warned him the massaging of crime statistics was the "biggest scandal coming our way", the Daily Telegraph reported.

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