ARGUS COMMENT: Can we trust crime stats?

South Wales Argus: ARGUS COMMENT: Can we trust crime stats? ARGUS COMMENT: Can we trust crime stats?

THE evidence given to MPs yesterday by Gwent's chief constable brings into question the reliability of crime statistics nationwide.

As we reported yesterday, an internal review of the way Gwent Police record crime showed half of incident logs in a 10-day period in July were not recorded in line with Home Office rules.

There is, of course, a world of difference between misrecording crimes because of a lack of knowledge and deliberately fiddling the figures, and there is no suggestion the latter has taken place anywhere.

But if Mr Farrar's evidence to MPs were to be repeated by the rest of the chief constables in England and Wales - and we should assume that would be the case as Mr Farrar takes the national lead of crime statistics - then where does that leave public confidence in crime figures?

If Gwent Police's July snapshot is indicative of general practice then half of all incidents reported to the police could be being misrecorded.

If that is the case, then crime statistics at both a local and national level simply cannot be trusted.

It is clear there needs to be a wholesale evaluation of how crimes are recorded, and more prescriptive guidelines on what constitutes a crime.

We want to see our police solving crimes and catching criminals rather than meeting targets and crunching numbers.

But there is now real concern over crime statistics and it needs to be addressed at a national level.

Comments (7)

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10:26am Thu 12 Dec 13

endthelies says...

The short answer is no. We cant trust the crime statistics.
The short answer is no. We cant trust the crime statistics. endthelies

10:42am Thu 12 Dec 13

regaturn says...

Up until June /July this year officers were pressurised to arrest for a drunk and disorderly offence rather than section 5 public order, the reason was simple, the one attracted a crime number and the other did not, nothing was ever written down. Hardly a misunderstanding!
Up until June /July this year officers were pressurised to arrest for a drunk and disorderly offence rather than section 5 public order, the reason was simple, the one attracted a crime number and the other did not, nothing was ever written down. Hardly a misunderstanding! regaturn

12:59pm Thu 12 Dec 13

Katie Re-Registered says...

"We want to see our police solving crimes and catching criminals rather than meeting targets and crunching numbers. "

I agree with the central argument of the editorial, but nevertheless had to chuckle to myself a little as the above is pure, typically textbook tabloid party line. My guess is that you could go to any editorial written by redtops such as the Sun, Mirror or Mail etc. and find a near enough identikit 'let's attempt to be populist" position:)
"We want to see our police solving crimes and catching criminals rather than meeting targets and crunching numbers. " I agree with the central argument of the editorial, but nevertheless had to chuckle to myself a little as the above is pure, typically textbook tabloid party line. My guess is that you could go to any editorial written by redtops such as the Sun, Mirror or Mail etc. and find a near enough identikit 'let's attempt to be populist" position:) Katie Re-Registered

1:13pm Thu 12 Dec 13

spanner100 says...

Of course the results are "Massaged" to meet requiremnts.Here is some wishful thinking.......Polic
e officers... Get off your buts....Park your vehicles behind Cwmbran Police Station (Out of sight) of us Ratepayers.....Get on your feet and get back to proper Policing!!.. Some chance. I dream on!!.
Of course the results are "Massaged" to meet requiremnts.Here is some wishful thinking.......Polic e officers... Get off your buts....Park your vehicles behind Cwmbran Police Station (Out of sight) of us Ratepayers.....Get on your feet and get back to proper Policing!!.. Some chance. I dream on!!. spanner100

1:35pm Thu 12 Dec 13

Bobevans says...

It is difficult to tell if it is going as far as fraud but there is a lot of indications that the figures are massaged with some crimes not being recorded and others downgraded. I suspect senior officers have been encouraging this practice and turning a blind eye to it. Clearly actual crime does not match with the crime figures. There is also the fact that any people will not bother to call the police for minor incidents as breaking shop windowst as the police will probably never turn up
It is difficult to tell if it is going as far as fraud but there is a lot of indications that the figures are massaged with some crimes not being recorded and others downgraded. I suspect senior officers have been encouraging this practice and turning a blind eye to it. Clearly actual crime does not match with the crime figures. There is also the fact that any people will not bother to call the police for minor incidents as breaking shop windowst as the police will probably never turn up Bobevans

5:18pm Thu 12 Dec 13

westender says...

I for one was glad to see Carmel Napier retired, her way of policing seemed to be purely reactive, if the crime was deemed serious enough, police attended, I want to see coppers on the high streets of Blackwood, Bargoed , Newbridge, Caerphilly and Risca, I want to see them booking motorists for stupid parking
intimidating the criminals who hang around the bus terminus, listening and talking to people, finding out who is up to what.
An old fashioned view and probably precluded by the cost but that's what I want Mr Johnson
I for one was glad to see Carmel Napier retired, her way of policing seemed to be purely reactive, if the crime was deemed serious enough, police attended, I want to see coppers on the high streets of Blackwood, Bargoed , Newbridge, Caerphilly and Risca, I want to see them booking motorists for stupid parking intimidating the criminals who hang around the bus terminus, listening and talking to people, finding out who is up to what. An old fashioned view and probably precluded by the cost but that's what I want Mr Johnson westender

10:26am Fri 13 Dec 13

Dickieboy says...

regaturn wrote:
Up until June /July this year officers were pressurised to arrest for a drunk and disorderly offence rather than section 5 public order, the reason was simple, the one attracted a crime number and the other did not, nothing was ever written down. Hardly a misunderstanding!
The result of dropping an offence of Sec 5 to to one of Drunk & Disorderly would only result in marginally less paperwork and a missed opportunity to record a 'Detected Crime' on the crime stats.
It is the detected/undetected status of a crime which is the nub of the problem regarding the recording of the crime stats, undetected=bad, try to avoid, detected=good must be recorded. No self respecting Detective Sergeant would ever let the opportunity to record a crime as detected slip pass that easily .
[quote][p][bold]regaturn[/bold] wrote: Up until June /July this year officers were pressurised to arrest for a drunk and disorderly offence rather than section 5 public order, the reason was simple, the one attracted a crime number and the other did not, nothing was ever written down. Hardly a misunderstanding![/p][/quote]The result of dropping an offence of Sec 5 to to one of Drunk & Disorderly would only result in marginally less paperwork and a missed opportunity to record a 'Detected Crime' on the crime stats. It is the detected/undetected status of a crime which is the nub of the problem regarding the recording of the crime stats, undetected=bad, try to avoid, detected=good must be recorded. No self respecting Detective Sergeant would ever let the opportunity to record a crime as detected slip pass that easily . Dickieboy

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