Police manipulated burglary stats

MICHAEL FIELD
Last updated 09:39 15/07/2014

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Police say manipulated South Auckland burglary statistics undermined the great work done by the region's staff.

But the altered figures did not have a significant impact on the area's overall crime figures and the officers who made the changes faced disciplinary action, police say.

"Nevertheless these irregularities were of considerable concern when first highlighted and undermined the great work done by our staff," Counties Manukau district commander Superintendent John Tims said today.

It was reported at the weekend that statistics were altered over three years to make 700 burglary offences appear as other crimes or not as crimes at all.

Tims said today that the "incorrect re-coding" had no significant impact on overall crime figures.

"Once identified, the irregularities were subject to a thorough review," he said.

Disciplinary action was taken against five staff and the most senior officer involved has now left police.

The re-coding only occurred in Counties-Manukau's south area.

Tims said re-coding of offences was a necessary feature for the police.

"For example it can often be appropriate to re-grade, up-grade or sometimes downgrade a matter which has initially been reported as a suspected burglary," he said.

"An example is where an intruder alarm has been activated, but subsequent inquiries prove inconclusive or indicate that no burglary took place."

In the three-year period, the total number of incorrectly recoded burglary offences was less than 700.

"At most, this would have affected less than half of 1 per cent of Counties Manukau's approximately 150,000 recorded crimes over that time period," Tims said.

Police were committed to ensuring crime recording was as accurate as possible.

"We know this is a key measure of how the public judges our performance, and this in turn influences how safe people feel in their communities."

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