More than 20,000 reported crimes to Lancashire Police last year were not recorded, it has been revealed.
The force has been severely criticised by inspectors for its approach to recording crime.
The report from the Crime Data Integrity inspection revealed that just 84.3 per cent of crimes are recorded.
This means that 20,000 reports of crimes – including 8,500 violent crimes and 220 sex offences – were not recorded.
Lancashire Police has been given a rating of ‘inadequate’ in this area, which it has vowed to improve.
The report, published by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services, shows that 84.3 per cent of reported crimes were recorded.
It also shows that 78.3 per cent of reported violent crimes and 93.6 per cent of reported sex offences were recorded, meaning that 8,500 violent crimes and 220 sexual offences were not recorded.
The report concludes: “Lancashire Constabulary officers and staff too often fail to make correct crime-recording decisions at the first opportunity.”
Lancashire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Clive Grunshaw, said: “This report has raised very serious concerns and I have been assured that work is already underway to urgently put into place the recommendations.
“I welcome the recognition that Lancashire police work well to support and help victims of crime.
“However recording of incidents clearly needs to improve to ensure that the Constabulary’s figures correctly reflect what is happening in the county.”
The report found that improvements have been made since a 2014 inspection, adding: “We found that officers and staff have made progress in placing victims at the forefront of their crime-reporting decisions.”
A spokesman for Lancashire Police said: “We acknowledge the findings of the report and we are already acting upon the recommendations to ensure that crimes are properly recorded, investigated and that victims of crime are at the heart of everything we do.”