BBC News: Crime stats - the truth is out there
BBC News: Crime in England and Wales down 10%
Interesting crime figures. Nowadays the majority of BBC journalism is disappointingly tendentious. Nevertheless, these articles give the figures for 2006-2012:
Crime Survey of England and Wales (CSEW) - 17% fall in crime.
Police statistics - 33% fall.
Personally, I doubt crime has changed at all - up or down. Nevertheless, it's a rather suspicious divergence - presided over by Commissioners Blair, Stephenson and Hogan-Howe.
As for the lowest estimated crime since 1981, don't make me chuckle. It's all in the way they're (not) recorded. I am a constable in the Metropolitan Police Service and when I report a crime such as a burglary, for example, I often find the offence later changed without my intervention. A burglary mysteriously transmutes, as if by alchemy, into a theft and a criminal damage. A street robbery changes as if by magic into a 'snatch theft'. The logic behind this process: burglaries and robberies are graded as more serious than theft or criminal damage.
Sometimes a crime even turns into a 'crime-related incident' – a non-crime!
And there are other tricks:
If a victim decides they no longer support police action, the case will fold and it counts as an 'undetected crime'. To expunge this black mark on the books, constables are ordered to take a 'no-crime statement' from the victim. This amounts to saying, “I'm sorry I phoned the police. It was a false allegation.” The crime can then be taken off the system, as if it never happened.
One has to admire the creativity of the people who think up these schemes.
I must emphasize that constables find all this extremely distasteful but our hands are tied. We receive email instructions from MPS senior officers. For example:
“Robberies are too high. DO NOT create a robbery report without first liaising with the Robbery Squad DS.”
The principle here is that the Robbery Squad Detective Sergeant is expected to find creative ways to reduce her robbery figures. She is under pressure to persuade the victim that his robbery never happened. OR, click a button on the crime-reporting system to transform a crime into a non-crime.
Met constables are disgusted by these practices. Many of us have been telling everyone who will listen about this for decades - I'm fed up of banging my drum about it. So why has this only just come to light?
Tom Winsor and others are subtly hinting that the constables are responsible. Mr Winsor, please try to understand that police senior managers rule with iron fists and in the Met at least, they have it all sewn up. They cannot bear dissent, and absolutely cannot bear light being shone upon their venality and incompetence.
It's only the senior officers who are strongly motivated to do this. They have a lot to lose – acquiring more crowns and braid on their smoothly pumiced shoulders, and a better pension, depends on them showing that their teams have hit their targets. Those of us without stripes, pips or crown on our rather tired and rounded shoulders are simply trying to pay our mortgages and get through each day safely and without having to explain the lack of resources too many times to frustrated members of the public.