THAMES Valley Police are failing to record more than 35,000 crimes per year, a shock report says, including serious crimes such as rape, sexual offences and domestic violence.

The force has been rated 'inadequate' in a crime data inspection by watchdog, Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Service (HMICFRS).

The report released today (Thursday, February 15) said there was 'a failure of officers and staff to make correct crime-recording decisions at the first opportunity'.

It means only 80.4 per cent of reported crimes from victims were recorded, inspectors said, with 19.6 per cent falling by the wayside.

The report also said the force was under recording 'too many reports' of violent crime, in particular common assault.

Officers and staff do not always believe reports from victims whom may be suffering from mental health issues, it added. It said: "The force needs to act promptly to improve the accuracy of its recording of these reports and to provide all victims with the service to which they are entitled and deserve."

Inspectors raised concerns that 'frontline officers, including supervisors, have a poor level of understanding' of the crime recording system.

It said delays in the recording of some crimes further delayed victims being referred to the force's victim support service – as a result 'letting down those victims who need the early support this team can provide'.

It has urged the force to take action immediately and has set out a number of improvements.

John Campbell, Deputy Chief Constable for the force, said: “This reports makes for unwelcome reading especially for a force that performs so well when measured in terms of our effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy.

“We accept the findings of HMICFRS and will be working hard over the coming months to ensure that we address their concerns. The matters subject to review were recorded as ‘incidents’ rather than crimes, but there is no suggestion that we failed to respond appropriately to the calls or to deal with the matters in hand.

“I am pleased that HMICFRS confirmed that they found no issues of unethical behaviour and I can assure the communities of Thames Valley that every day, every officer is working hard to keep you safe from harm and to protect victims of crime.”