Over 290 alleged sexual offences reported to Surrey Police each year are not recorded, according to recent estimates from inspectors.

In fact, of 200 audited rape reports, Surrey Police only accurately recorded 159, according to a report published on Tuesday (October 2).

Findings from Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) described Surrey Police’s’ recording of sexual offences as “disappointing”.

The report reads: “This is a disappointing result. It is significantly affected by reports of crime that go unrecorded in domestic abuse cases and by under-recording reported crimes of rape.

“Recording these offences is particularly important as many of these crimes are serious in nature and can cause significant harm to their victims.”

Surrey police should improve the recording of offences at the point of reporting and ensure additional offences disclosed during an investigation are recorded, said HMICFRS.

In some cases, forces recorded another offence instead of rape or recorded reports of rape as vulnerable adult records instead of crime records, inspectors have said.

In dealing with historic crimes or cases where the victim had mental ill-health and gave inconsistent accounts, officers wrongly believed in a failure to confirm a crime had occurred.

In addition, Surrey forces failed to record crimes of rape disclosed during modern slavery investigations, according to HMICFRS.

However, the report also found that investigations were conducted in many of reported sexual offences and safeguarding requirements had taken place in all.

In fact, overall, the force’s recording of reported crimes was rated ‘good’, with 93 percent of reported crimes recorded accurately.

According to the report, the force has achieved good levels of recording accuracy for reported violence offences and is able to record many crimes within 24 hours.

The report reads: “Surrey Police has made good progress in its crime-recording processes since 2014.

“The very strong leadership and positive approach among most officers and staff toward victims is welcome and provides confidence that the force will be able to respond quickly and effectively to the outstanding matters found during this inspection.”

Deputy Chief Constable Gavin Stephens said: “There are areas where we have fallen short, and whilst the number of errors in our crime recording are small, any instance of us failing to record an offence accurately is one too many.

“Specifically the inspectors highlighted a concern in the recording of rape and sexual crimes. This is particularly worrying due to the nature of these crimes.

He added:“A misunderstanding of the complex recording rules resulted in a mis-classification of the crime or instances where reports of multiple crimes meant records should have been separated.

“We have not missed victims.”

HM Inspector of Constabulary Zoë Billingham said: “Although we have graded Surrey Police as good, there is still some room for improvement.

“ For instance, officers were most likely to miss a crime off the books when it was an additional crime disclosed by a victim during an on-going investigation. This included some cases involving sexual offences.

“I will continue to monitor Surrey Police, but I am very reassured by the good progress that the Force has made in this vitally important aspect of policing.”