The Royal Statistical Society through GetStats hope to use the Police and Crime Commissioner elections to improve public understanding of the stats on policing and crime, and the complicated relationship between the two. To that end they are drafting a guide for candidates in order to inform debate. You can request a copy of the draft guide and give your feedback on their website, and if you are a candidate intending to make claims about crime, remember, someone is watching you!
TopOfTheCops has taken the chance to feedback on the draft document, making the following points, among others:-
- The draft did not mention detections and the issues that surround their use as performance indicators.
- Some crime categories, such as drugs possession, function better as a measure of police activity than as a measure of the underlying offence.
- The riots in August 2011 provide a useful case study as to how offences can be aggregated/minimised
- The ‘and Crime’ part of the Commissioner’s job is real and substantial – it’s not just about policing and therefore not just police statistics, but also recidivism rates, completion of community punishment, rehabilitation etc.
- The difference in scale of crime recorded by police as opposed to the British Crime Survey is worth greater emphasis, as is the impact of changes to crime categories and crime recording systems, making comparisons over prolonged periods especially difficult.
This concerns me in that it does reflect that old adage, there are lies, damned lies and statistics.
What is insulting, if I can use that word, is that there are huge amounts of police resources dedicated to the collation, analysis and then publication of statistics that apparently show that
1 – ‘YOUR’ police service is doing an excellent job, and
2 – ‘YOUR’ police service is reducing crime.
It would be a terrible skewing of the figures if this were allowed and the honesty and trust in the police service would be damaged … a step too far
If what were allowed? I don’t quite follow, Chris.