DOMESTIC abuse is a priority for West Mercia Police, according to a chief superintendent, despite a report finding victims are being let down by staff failing to record crimes reported.

The latest Crime Data Integrity Report, published this month, showed more than 8,900 reported crimes were not being taken down each year by West Mercia Police, including 4,200 violent crime cases.

And the force has been told to immediately improve how it records the likes of harassment, stalking, coercive and controlling behaviour and domestic abuse as well as modern slavery.

The report, compiled by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS), said many low-risk domestic abuse incidents are not being attended within the protocol 48-hour timeframe.

“As a result, there are unacceptable delays to recording crimes and some crimes aren’t being recorded at all,” the report states.

“This is depriving some domestic abuse victims of the support they need and deserve.”

It goes on to say: “The force completed safeguarding actions in most cases. But its failure to record these crimes led to most of these victims being let down, because it didn’t investigate their crimes.”

Crimes not recorded also include an estimated 180 sexual offences per year.

Chief Superintendent Tom Harding said: “Domestic abuse is one of our priorities and we will always ensure we deliver the best possible service to victims.

“However, domestic abuse can often be complex when crime recording as, due to the on-going nature of the abuse, it can often mean multiple crimes should be recorded, and while we always endeavour to do this we recognise there is still work to be done and will now look to implement the recommendations that HMIC has made.”

Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion admitted there is “room for improvement” in light of the report’s findings.

He said he would “continue to hold the chief constable to account to ensure all victims get the efficient and effective service they deserve”.

PC Andrew Wright was sacked after allegedly failing to properly help mum Michelle Hutchings who approached him in Malvern after being beaten up by an ex-partner.

The 28-year-old had fled her home, clutching her young son, but was told by the officer parked outside Greggs to go to the police station.

However, when Ms Hutchings arrived, there was no answer on the intercom and she ended up hiding behind a wall for 20 minutes, terrified her attacker would track her down.

The allegations against Mr Wright were that he failed to properly investigate and appropriately record incidents between May and July 2017.

Despite the failings, the constabulary has retained its good rating from the last inspection in 2014.

The HMICFRS was particularly impressed with West Mercia’s introduction of a centralised crime bureau to assess every incident and crime record.

The report outlined how the force is succeeding in recording crime against the most vulnerable, ensuring safeguarding and support for victims, such as through the PCC funded, Victim Advice Line.

Operation Encompass was introduced in Worcestershire in December, which aims to help provide support to pupils who are experiencing domestic abuse, while other initiatives include Domestic Abuse Matters Champions.

This helps to improve the service provided to victims of domestic abuse and in the efforts to manage domestic abuse perpetrators more effectively.