.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Statistics and police statistics

All the papers today cover the criticism by the House of Commons Public Administration Committee that we cannot rely on police statistics.

The Western Mail says that the report, Caught Red-handed: Why We Can’t Count on Police Recorded Crime Statistics, argues there is “strong evidence” that crime is under-recorded and warns the “attitudes and behaviour” behind the problem are now “ingrained”:

The committee is concerned there is a particular problem about under-recording “sexual crimes such as rape in many police areas.” This was attributed to “lax compliance with the agreed national standard of victim-focussed crime recording”.

The MPs are alarmed by the so-called “no-criming” of sexual offences such as rape. These can, they write, can be classified as “‘crime-related incidents’ (CRI), rather than recorded crimes.”

The report states: “Any instance of deliberate mis-recording of sexual offences is deplorable, but especially so if this has been brought about by means of improperly persuading or pressurising victims into withdrawing or downgrading their report. The disparities between different police forces in the ‘no-crime rates’ for rapes and sexual offences are sufficient in our view to raise serious concerns about the varying approaches taken by police forces to recording and investigating these horrendous crimes.

“We look forward to the outcome of the research commissioned by the Metropolitan Police examining the force’s ‘no crime’ decisions in respect of sexual offences. The fact that this research is necessary, following the 2008 Independent Police Complaints Commission report into the Sapphire Unit is a damning indictment of police complacency, inertia and lack of leadership.”

They add that amongst the forces in Wales and England, South Wales and Dyfed-Powys ranked second and fifth lowest for their no-crime rates for reported rape incidents, respectively. North Wales and Gwent ranked 13th and seventh highest, respectively.

The committee note that the UK Statistics Authority has “stripped” Police Recorded Crime data of its quality kite mark and warns that “numerical targets drive perverse incentives to mis-record crime.”

This is something that needs to be put right quickly. Statistics are important so as to direct resources. The Welsh Government has taken a strong line on reducing sexual crimes, the police forces need to keep up and enable those policies to be put into effect. More evidence to back up the case for the devolution of policing to Wales.
Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?