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Fresh debate about the future of crime statistics

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A police union leader last week suggested that crime figures should not be made public.

Irene Curtis, president of the Police Superintendents’ Association, said that the statistics could be misleading and that a more “sophisticated” way of measuring forces’ performance needed to be introduced across the country.

“I actually think recorded crime should not be a measure of police performance,” she said.

“Police do far more than record a crime. The difficulty is when you start looking at recorded crime versus police performance… you can’t correlate the two.”

Her comments come following increasing debate about whether crime statistics offer a true picture of the situation in communities around Britain.

Back in January, the UK Statistics Authority questioned the reliability of police records and said it could no longer approve crime figures compiled using data from forces in England and Wales.

It took the decision after uncovering evidence that forces were undercounting crime. This was often down to human error or police dealing with incidents informally, although in some cases there were allegations of officers manipulating figures in order to meet performance targets.

Ms Curtis’ comments will lead to new debate about whether quarterly crime figures can continue to be used as evidence about the effectiveness of various Home Office initiatives or changes in legislation.

While few senior officers have backed calls to stop publishing the statistics altogether, there is an increasing recognition that the perceived fallibility of figures may undermine public confidence in the police

Lester Morrill’s criminal law team has experience representing clients in all areas of criminal law. To find out how our Yorkshire-based solicitors can assist in your case, contact us today.

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