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Tuesday, 26 November 2013

The Golden Thread of Policing is Geographical

"The ‘golden thread’ running through our analysis and proposals is that the local policing
area is the core unit, and building block, of fair and effective policing."
This  to me is the defining statement of the Lord Stevens lead report entitled "Policing for a Better Britain" (publish yesterday) and one which I totalling agree with.
I served on five Commissioners in my 30 years in the MPS. Stevens was head and shoulders both physically and in policing terms above the others. So anything he is involved in I take seriously, though the conclusions of the Diana Death and Northern Ireland Enquiry I do not necessarily agree with. But in this one there are no establishment to protection issues which to me cloud matters in the other enquiries.
I will read this with interest as my recent research has primarily been on the performance and accountability of this core unit of policing. 

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Sorry but Police Recorded Crime is Complicated

This is a flow diagram that shows why many crimes are not accurately recorded in the police recorded crime statistics. Firstly, made crime are not reported to the police or discovered by them. Among those that are reported are ones which are made-up by the public, usually for insurance fraud purposes or they assumed a crime took place when it never did, for instance losing credit cards on a night out. Then even if a crime occurs police deliberately or in error do not record it properly, or to use the jargon do not classify it correctly.

This leaves aside the complications of legal definitions, Home Office Counting Rules and Home Office Crime Categories which run rings around what may appear to be common sense.

Saturday, 23 November 2013

The problem with crime statistics is people think they understand them

I have been a police officer for 30 years; I have run a crime desk at one of the busiest boroughs in the country; and I have studied England and Wales crime statistics intensively for over four years in order to gain a PhD from one of the top Universities in the world. And I am quite happy to concede that there may be some hidden subtleties about Official Crime Statistics that I am not aware. But I am convinced that there are many politicians and many members of the public who think that they fully understand them.

These blissfully ignorant people have had a rude shock this last when people with a little more understanding than them have revealed that crime statistics need to be interpreted with extreme care. The police manipulate them (in my view against their best interests, showing they too do not fully understand them, as the way to justify more police is more crime), the Home Office and the politicians in power connive in this manipulation and count and categorise crime to deliberately mislead the public (because they want less police and undeserved credit); and the public too are complicit by falsely reporting crimes for insurance and other purposes and not reporting crimes that they should.

I understand Simon Jenkins point of view in his Guardian article Police crime figures are meaningless. Ban them. He extols the virtues of the British Crime Survey statistics, the other half of the official crime statistics which also need to be interpreted with extreme care.

The fact is police crime figures are not meaningless. Lying buried within them there are many important facts, but not the ones police, politicians, journalists or the public are going to understand anytime soon.