Crime reports ‘screened out’ in Cleveland (indicative of national trend)

Cleveland Police

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The business tagline of Cleveland Police is “Putting People First” but, irrespective of the mostly inane words and wasteful expenditure of public money in formulating these stupid corporate messages, the question has to be asked… Which people are they actually putting first? The public they supposedly serve or the self-serving management of the organisation?

As one of my Twitter followers and colleague put it recently when commenting upon our police and society (on a slightly different but related subject), it really does appear to be yet another clear case of… “One for one and none for all.”

Due to the ongoing investigations into the management of Cleveland Police, their Police Authority and the associated issues involving Chief Constable Sean Price and his Deputy etc, it’s not appropriate to make specific comment in relation to them as individuals. That said, this appears to be yet another example of the rot embedded within the higher echelons of the British Police service.

Force ‘screened out’ a third of crime reports: MORE than one in three crimes reported to Cleveland Police were “screened out” without further investigation last year. Thousands of crimes reported to the force were left on file over the course of 2010/11. Figures released under the Freedom of Information Act show the force screened out 15,920 offences from its system over the period – 37% of all of those reported…(

Steve Bennett, a retired West Midlands Police Officer, author of the Thin Blue Line Blog and a person who’s knowledge and expertise I value highly, commented on the malaise that is the recording of British crime statistics. When discussing the matter and this recent snippet above he said…

If I were working for the HMIC, Cleveland is the first force I would start with… Meteoric reductions in crime and increases in detection straight out of Grimm Fairy tales! As if 28% national detection weren’t bullshit enough, Cleveland rarely drop below 40%. If it were you or I running the show, we would want to prove (1) that the detection are genuine and if so, (2) how can we replicate this across the country… (Steve Bennett)


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 15-08-2011, in Police and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. And you thought I was done …..

    I created a league table of forces to illustrate the numbers of crimes recorded, the numbers and %’s of crimes detected. I conducted this showing the results 2003 to 2011. Dyfed Powys had the lowest number of crimes every year. Not surpising then they should have the highest percentage of detections EVERY one of the nine years. Northumbria appear in the top ten % detections every year. Cleveland appear in the top 10 for the last four years. The Met, not surprisingly have the highest crime numbers every year, and correspondingly the highest number of detections, yet when expressed as a a % detection rate they are in the bottom sic every year. West Yorkshire are constantly 4th highest in the crime numbers and detections yet appear every year in the bottom 10 in terms of detection %’s.

    My point? Well, if you or I were running Police plc with 43 locations, would we not be speaking to the forces always at the top of the tables to see if the numbers were real, and if they were to spread the word to those at the bottom? The only reason I can think they do not do this is because the methods by which these numbers are achieved is suspect. Why else would we bot wish to spread the success of the tope performing forces throughout the rest of the country? Doesn’t take rocket science does it?

    Not sure how this will appear on the page but I’ll try it anyway. Here is a list of the England & Wales forces and their detection rates. I’ve shorted the force names to try and make em fit. See for yourself who is always above the national average. Look behind the scenes at the methods of detections in certain years and bingo, the can opens up.

    Force 2002/03 2003/04 2004/05 2005/06 2006/07 2007/08 2008/09 2009/10
    Avon 15 15 16 23 24 25 26 26
    Beds 21 20 23 23 20 22 26 26
    BTP 14 15 15 18 23 27 32 35
    Cambs 14 15 17 26 24 27 25 27
    Che 21 19 18 26 26 26 29 25
    Cleve 22 19 19 24 29 33 38 40
    Cumb 25 26 25 30 32 38 39 40
    Derby 21 18 23 26 25 29 27 23
    D & C 21 20 20 25 26 28 30 30
    Dorset 18 20 25 28 29 27 25 24
    Durham .. .. 22 23 28 29 30 33
    D Powys 55 37 30 40 42 42 44 48
    Essex 16 17 22 26 29 32 35 34
    Gloucs 24 23 21 28 30 32 31 30
    GMP 16 17 20 24 24 25 25 25
    Gwent 34 30 28 27 30 30 30 26
    Hants 24 22 23 21 22 26 25 27
    Herts 18 19 21 22 29 30 33 35
    Humber 16 15 17 20 24 31 30 28
    Kent 23 22 20 24 25 27 32 33
    Lancs 26 22 22 29 34 35 34 35
    Leics 21 20 24 29 28 27 24 23
    Lincs 19 18 21 24 27 28 27 24
    City of L 33 30 26 40 35 36 36 36
    Mersey 21 21 18 25 27 32 36 39
    Met 13 13 15 18 21 25 26 24
    Norfolk 20 22 22 25 29 32 37 34
    N Walles 21 21 25 29 34 40 42 41
    N Yorks 20 21 25 26 28 33 31 31
    Northants 20 19 19 20 23 25 24 24
    Northumb 27 26 25 32 37 38 39 40
    Notts 16 16 17 21 22 23 23 26
    S Wales 24 23 24 22 24 26 28 30
    S Yorks 19 22 21 23 25 27 29 31
    Staffs 23 23 25 25 26 28 23 23
    Suffolk 24 24 24 27 28 30 34 30
    Surrey 18 19 22 23 29 27 22 21
    Sussex 18 21 21 26 27 32 26 29
    T Valley 19 17 21 27 24 25 24 20
    Warks 20 19 20 24 26 26 25 24
    W Mercia 23 21 27 32 33 29 30 27
    W Mids 26 25 22 26 27 27 29 24
    W Yorks 17 17 22 26 26 24 26 27
    Wilts 23 24 25 27 22 27 31 30
    E & W 19 19 21 24 26 28 28 28

    The England & Wales average is the bottom line. Bearing in mind we suspect that around 15-18% would be the primary detection reality, anything over 25% is doubtful, anything over 30% is suspect, anything over 35% contains more fudge than a Devon gift shoppe and anything over 40% is straight out of the brothers Grimm stable. If a force is genuinely achieving 40% David Cameron would do better cancelling the Bill Bratton consultancy, and direct his attention towards the Chiefs clkoser to home. To even dream that 40% is a genuine detection rate would be the absolute extreme of niavity!

    And on that note, I’ll leave you in peace.

    All the best


  2. How’s this for a whizz example then Dave …..

    100 recorded crime offences
    20 detections = 20% right?
    Ok, now knock off 10 of the recorded matters as no crimes
    We now have 90 recorded crime offences
    20 detections suddenly becomes 22% (20 / 90)
    Instead of the 10, knock off 15 as no crime
    We now have 85 recorded crime offences
    The same 20 detections is now worth 25%
    Instead of the 15, make it 30 no crimes
    Hey presto! we arrive at the magical 28% national detection rate!
    Simples . . . .

    Of course no one would be that daft to “no crime” that many incidents, would they??

    A simplistic example perhaps, but you can see how easy it is to manipulate the end game if you know how the math works. Imagine the actual number of recorded crimes, the actual number of no crimes and you can see how badly distorted the whole picture has become.

    The origins of “Gaming” go way back, but only in the past 15 years or so have they become so scientific. The snowball really started to roll with the false reporting policies introduced by forces 2003/04 onward. Mobile phones were being lost/damaged in their ‘000s. Mobile phone retailers advised consumers in large numbers to report it as a theft to claim on insurance. Discovering this, forces implemented false reporting strategies, refusing to accept reports unless corroborated by other evidence. Nothing wrong so far. It all went Pete Tong when the forces extended the strategy to volume crime (vehicles/burglary/damage etc). It became the norm to screen out the offences at source, slashing literally thousands of true crimes off the books (We have the evidence in HMIC Inspection Reports!).

    01/08/2003 West Mercia introduced false reporting on all property crime
    20/02/2004 West Mids introduced fr on all acquisitive crime
    03/09/2003 West Yorks introduced fr on all street and volume crime
    10/09/2004 Merseyside introduced fr on all benefit money crimes
    04/04/2006 Cleveland introduced fr on all street crime inc mobile phones
    01/07/2004 Humberside introduced fr on all street crime inc mobile phones
    29/04/2004 Notts introduced fr on all street crime, extending it to burglary in 2005
    Partial fr initiatives were introduced by Avon, City of London & BTP in 2003 & 2005

    See the picture developing??

    When you see the graphs we have produced, showing the decline in crime corresponding with the introduction of false reporting policies for these and other forces for the volume crimes that massively affect the numbers, the evidence jumps off the page to even the dimmest of us.

    2004 was a bit early for the strategy to appear in the books, 27/43 forces recorded an increase in crime. In 2005 though the number dipped to only 7 forces showing an increase. By 2008, only ONE force showed in increase in crime. It stayed at ONE for 2009 & 2010. Now, consider this. If you ran a plc with 43 sites, would you not expect to see a mixture of rising stars, middle range performers and dead ducks? They didn’t even have the sense to disguise the numbers, such was their greed for the Nu Labour performance related financial benefits up for grabs (Chief Officers receiving 15% of their salary as a bonus for showing crime reductions). By hook or appropriately “by crook” they were always going to achieve it.

    Then there are the more commonly known fudges. Crimes reported in alternative registers so they don’t appear on the books (HMIC caught West Mids/Notts big style for this one). Misclassifying/downgrading the offences that cause most public concern (burglary/robbery/offences against the person etc), placing them in less contentiuous volume categories where they will get less attention (burglary where nothing stolen = criminal damage or even lost property!), (Attempt burglary no theft = damage to a dwelling – and there are literally thousands of these). I struggle to imagine how ‘000s of damage to dwellings can occur legitimately. And this is just scratching the surface. The popular city centre communal dwelling apartments …. say entrance is gained to 10 apartments and 10 vehicles are nicked… 20 crimes yes?? No. 1 crime. Unless of course the villains are nabbed, when its 1 crime, 20 detections. Yet more fudgery.

    Don’t get me started on detections! Too late, I’m on a roll.

    I’ve done some pretty depp exploratory analysis into the methods of detection favoured by each force going back 15 years. Cannabis detections are the favourite, represeting 10% and more in some cases of the overall force detection rates. PND’s and TIC’s average out to 7 & 6% respectively. The %’s seem low but don’t bee fooled. When you see that sanction detections run at just over a million, we’re talking a couple of hundred thousand offences detected by out of court disposal methods. Cautions are well over 20%. Why mention the out of court disposals at all? Because rank and file officers confirm that when the evidence is weak, the “Quick Wins” are gained by an out of court disposal. The focus on middle class “crime” – the non crime as seasoned veterans would call it, results in many membes of the public accepting a caution, pnd or other method rather than rsk the outcome of a day in court.

    TIC’s are a complete joke too. The system allows an offender serving a custodial sentence to admit hundreds of offences and never have to face the judicial consequences. On the sayso of a supervisory officer or possibly the CPS, offences can be admitted/detected without a court appearance and any other penalty. The playing field is wide open to abuse, with all sorts of inducements to admit offences (whether committed or not). HMIC quietly advises forces where this is suspected. Without naming forces here, officers have been dismissed for allowing serving prisoners to have intimate access to their partners in police vehicles in return for signed sheets of admissions. Officers in the midlands were dismissed for taking a co operative suspect to McDonalds after the deeds were done. Only problem was they let him go to the loo unsupervised with his bird. On arrival and searching at HMP his pants were found stuffed with drugs.

    So, screening out is part of a much bigger problem. Howver, as I have related offline, the regulatory bodies that could do something are scared of opening the can of worms for fear they’ll never get the lid back on.

    Thanks for the mention Dave, great post mate.
    All the best
    Thin Blue Line UK
    (Retired West Mids)


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