A SENIOR officer has defended the work of police in Mid Devon after a damning report revealed that one in five crimes in Devon and Cornwall could be going unrecorded.

The report, published by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary revealed failures in the recording of crimes - including serious offences such as rape.

But Sgt Gareth Twigg, sector inspector for Mid Devon, has leapt to the defence of his force following coverage in local media broadcasts and says some of the coverage 'lacked balance.'Sgt Twigg said: “The report focused on Tiverton and suggested officers have not been recording crime ethically and appeared to be used to air general grievances about the police.

"In Mid Devon we have some of the most dedicated and committed officers and staff I have ever had the pleasure to work with in my 20 years of policing."

"I know the police are not perfect, despite our best efforts. There are areas where we can improve and despite budgetary constraints we are working hard to deliver the best service we can.

“When we don't get it right I would urge members of the public to speak to us directly so we can get better at what we do."

The interim report on crime data integrity, identified “serious concerns about the crime-recording process” - as well as “weak or absent management and supervision of crime-recording, significant under-recording of crime, serious sexual offences not being recorded, and some offenders having been issued with out-of-court disposals when their offending history could not justify it.”

In the report, HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary, Tom Winsor, said: “The accuracy and integrity of police-recorded crime data are vital to public trust in the police. The HOCR and NCRS are not optional - every police officer should be able to understand and properly apply them, and every police force should adhere to them.

“The consequences of under-recording of crime are serious, and may mean victims and the community are failed because crimes are not investigated, the levels of crime will be wrongly under-stated, and police chiefs will lack the information they need to make sound decisions on the deployment of their resources.

“Although this is an interim report, and we have identified common strengths, we are seriously concerned at the picture which is emerging - particularly about the significant under-recording of crime, and serious sexual offences not being recorded.

“This is an inspection of the integrity of police-recorded crime data - not an inspection or inquiry into the integrity of the police. HMIC will inspect the remaining forces in England and Wales to provide a full picture of crime data integrity, with the final report published in October 2014.”