Nottinghamshire Police deny crime downgrade claim

Claims that crimes have been downgraded to help statistical results have been denied by Nottinghamshire Police.

Former commander Dave Shardlow said anecdotal evidence showed some crimes were reclassified, such as burglary being recorded as criminal damage.

Mr Shardlow also said a policy of retiring senior officers, including himself, meant the force was losing valuable experience.

Nottinghamshire police said its figures were independently monitored.

The force had struggled with years of high crime figures but recently had seen dramatic falls - the latest Home Office statistics recorded a 19% cut in burglaries.

But it is also facing making £46m in savings by 2015, nearly a quarter of its total budget, due to central government funding cuts.

This has lead it to enforce a clause in contracts which compulsorily retires officers with more than 30 years experience.

Mr Shardlow claimed a senior colleague had told him these pressures had led to changes in how crime was recorded.

He said: "Clearly there are different categories of crime, so for example if you wish to report a burglary to a shed in the back garden, it is very easy to try to say 'that is not an attempted burglary, that is criminal damage'.

"That would lessen the impact of the crime in terms of national crime statistics."

Nottinghamshire's Assistant Chief Constable, Ian Ackerley, rejected the suggestion outright.

"The style and tone (of policing) in Nottinghamshire is that we record crime properly, we are subject to independent scrutiny and we are determined to make people safe, not massage or fiddle the figures," he said.

"Mr Shardlow, in my view, does a disservice to his colleagues who are working hard to protect the people of this county."

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