Police still working through domestic abuse backlog caused by iOPS

Greater Manchester Police is still struggling to work through a backlog of domestic abuse incidents caused by the introduction of the controversial iOPS computer system.

Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) told the force earlier this year that issues with the IT system had potentially exposed hundreds of vulnerable people to ‘potential risk of harm’.

More than a third of the 35,107 domestic abuse incidents recorded between the launch of iOPS in July and October last year required a ‘more in-depth review’, according to GMP.

The force has revisited a quarter of these incidents so far, meaning just over 10,000 cases are still outstanding.

A report to Greater Manchester’s police and crime panel shows that 96 per cent of the cases that have been reviewed complied with national crime recording standards.

The region’s deputy mayor Baroness Beverley Hughes, who oversees policing, told the panel that work had been ‘proceeding at pace’ before the coronavirus pandemic.

“We’d already done the child protection cases but it has slowed somewhat because of the situation we’re in,” she said on Tuesday.

“It is a high priority that we finish that and the work so far reveals a high level of compliance, so we’re confident there is not a lot of risk in what’s left there.”

The meeting also heard that confidence in the system is high despite several whistleblowers flagging concerns with iOPs since it was rolled out.

Despite this, panel member Coun Mike Freeman, who used to work at GMP, said: “Clearly there’s been improvements but there is still some lack of confidence by staff in the new system.

“Does this give cause for concern to the deputy mayor?”

Ms Hughes admitted that the introduction of iOPs had been ‘a journey’ for GMP but said: “We are seeing increased satisfaction amongst staff, and I am confident that the potential of this system is already being realised.”

A separate report to the panel revealed that crime recorded in Greater Manchester has fallen by eight per cent stretching back to the launch of iOPS.

There were nearly 28,000 fewer crimes in 2019, with the biggest reduction reported in cases of domestic abuse and robbery.

In total, GMP recorded 306,663 total crimes in last year compared to 334,544 in 2018.

Crime data for the first six months of 2020 will be available within the next few weeks, according to Assistant Chief Constable Chris Sykes.

In a statement released after the panel meeting, he said crime recording standards in the force have improved ‘significantly’ in recent years.

“We still have improvements to make to ensure crime data is accurate and in-line with National Crime Recording Standards (NCRS) requirements,” added ACC Sykes.

“The NCRS and Home Office Counting Rules definitions of crime data are regularly revised, which adds challenges to having all officers at every rank having a detailed understanding of these rules. 

“Due to this we have invested heavily in dedicated resources across the force, in order to improve crime recording and NCRS compliance.”

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