Thursday, March 06, 2008

British police chief: official figures miss out millions of crimes

Surprise! Surprise! Official British statistics on anything these days are about as trustworthy as Stalin's old production figures

OFFICIAL crime figures are "misleading" and "flawed" because they fail to include as many as six out of 10 crimes, one of Britain's most senior police officers has admitted. Ian Johnston, chairman of the police chiefs' crime committee, says the figures used by ministers and police are misleading because they exclude much violent crime and need to be "bolstered" in order to restore public trust.

He said: "People don't believe what the government and the police tell them about the crime figures. "Some of the figures tell the truth and are pretty accurate. But the British Crime Survey [BCS] is inadequate; it's partially misleading. It doesn't provide the true scale of crime in the UK."

Johnston, who is chief constable of the British Transport Police and chairman of the crime committee of the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo), said the BCS and official crime statistics needed to be overhauled. He said the official figures missed out millions of crimes because of "under reporting". He said the BCS excluded all crimes among those under 16 ? at least 500,000 according to reliable estimates. Many of those offences include muggings, especially involving the theft of iPods and mobile phones. "It doesn't include crimes against people in institutions such as those in university accommodation, old people's homes and hospitals," he said.

Johnston said he had repeatedly raised the problem with ministers and officials, but no action had been taken. He said he agreed with the findings of an independent review in 2006 of crime statistics, which found that 60% of all crime was not reported to the police. According to the most recent crime figures for 2006-7 there were 5.42m crimes reported to police. That would mean a further 8.13m crimes went unreported.


No comments: