Crime statistics: Again!

statistics often lie

Image via Flickr

Despite much ‘evidence’ to support the improper and mischievous methods employed to record crime, and the recent introduction of the Crime Mapping project in the UK, it appears the debacle surrounding crime statistics just won’t die away…

In a recent forum debate at Linkedin on the subject, hackles were raised once again as feathers were ruffled. It appears that some senior officers find any challenge to their methodology somewhat uncomfortable. I, like many others (see Thin Blue Line being just one) have tried to emphasise how a large proportion of police officers in the country, and now to a certain extent the public at large, perceive the circumstances that have had a negative impact upon the police service over recent years.

A senior contributor to the forum (understandably), denied any wrong doing on behalf of himself and many others at the top of the service, and voiced his concern about a situation that was “foisted” upon them by government. However, didn’t he and his peers always have the opportunity to refuse to ‘tow the party line’?

If all 43 Chief Constables had originally refused to adopt many of those things they now (suddenly) agree have impacted adversely upon the service, what could the government realistically have done to them? After all, Chief Police Officers are supposedly apolitical… It appears to me that many at the time chose to take the easier option, for whatever personal reasons they had?

It also strikes me that many of those at the top of the service (like politicians) are now changing their previous views, almost at the drop of a hat, simply to court an enhanced level of public support and opinion. I’m sorry but trotting out comments like ‘it wasn’t me’ or, ‘I only did what the rest were doing’ really doesn’t cut the mustard…Isn’t there an uncanny similarity with the MP expenses scandal here?

Doesn’t the apparent and sudden change of ethics relate to the ‘heat’ of public opinion? One that is making their previous opinions a little more uncomfortable to live with than was originally the case? As the saying goes; if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen!

In my opinion the debacle surrounding crime stats will always be present… Until we see the situation whereby; (1) all crime is only recorded as per legal definition, (2) there is no such thing as ‘sanctioned detection’ and most importantly (3) those statistics are not used (almost exclusively) to quantify the efficiency of a police force. In short, the ‘ethical recording of crime’ should see a little more ethics and a lot less manipulation.

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About Dave Hasney

National Coordinator for UK SMART Recovery - Previously a Recovery Worker and prior to that a Management Consultant and H&S Practitioner - Kept sane by Angling, Good Food, Real Ale & Wine - Cynical thoughts sometimes developed from others.

Posted on 07-03-2011, in Police and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

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