England’s second largest police force is to be placed in special measures after a watchdog raised concerns over its failure to record more than 80,000 crimes in the space of a year.
A report issued by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) last week said it was left “deeply troubled” over how cases handled by Greater Manchester Police (GMP) were closed without proper investigation.
They also said GMP’s service to victims of crime was a “serious cause of concern”.
Inspectors found that around one in five of all crimes, and one in four violent crimes, reported by the public to the force were not recorded.
In a statement issued on Thursday night, HMICFRS said the force had been moved into the “Engage” stage of its monitoring process.
This requires GMP to develop an improvement plan to “address the specific causes of concern”.
The HMICFRS report found that GMP failed to record an estimated 80,100 crimes reported to it between July 1 2019 and June 30 2020, amounting to around 220 crimes a day.
A higher proportion of violent crime was not recorded, including domestic abuse and behavioural crimes, such as harassment, stalking and coercive controlling behaviour.
Inspectors estimated that the force recorded 77.7% of reported crimes, a drop of 11.3% from 2018.
An HMICFRS spokesperson said: “The level of scrutiny on Greater Manchester Police has been raised and the force has been placed in the Engage stage of the HMICFRS monitoring process.
“This is due to the causes of concern raised in HMICFRS’s recent reports which have highlighted the poor service the force provides to many victims of crime.
“In the Engage stage, a force is required to develop an improvement plan to address the specific causes of concern that have led to it being placed in the advanced phase of the monitoring process.
“The process is intended to provide support to the force from external organisations including the Home Office, College of Policing and the National Police Chiefs Council to assist in achieving the required improvements.”
Ian Hopkins has been chief constable of GMP since October 2015, leading a force of 6,866 officers.
Following the publication of the HMICFRS report, Hopkins revealed he had decided to take a break from his role to recover from Labyrinthitis – an inner ear infection which affects balance.
In a statement provided on Wednesday, Hopkins said he had been suffering from the condition since the end of October.
“I continued to work throughout with the support of the rest of my chief officers team until Sunday 13 December, despite feeling very ill,” he added.
“I finally made the decision over last weekend that in the interests of my health I needed to take a break and recover properly so I can return and lead GMP with the same passion and strength of character that I have always demonstrated.
“Despite feeling ill I remain in contact daily with members of my Chief Officers team.”
Last week, HM Inspector of Constabulary Zoe Billingham said victims of crime were “too often being let down” by GMP.
Inspectors found the force wrongly and prematurely closed some investigations, some with vulnerable victims, a proportion being domestic abuse cases, where although a suspect was identified, the victim did not support, or withdrew support for police action.
And “in too many cases” watchdogs said there was no evidence to confirm the victim’s wishes had been properly considered before the investigation was closed, and inspectors could not be sure that victims were properly safeguarded and provided with the right service or support.
GMP’s deputy chief constable Ian Pilling said last week the force was “disappointed” by some of the report’s findings, “particularly where we have let victims down”.
He sought to reassure the public that the force was treating the matter seriously and had a “long-term strategic plan” in place to address the issues.