Crime statistics – what to believe?

In response to scrutiny, police forces up and down the country have been improving how they record crime, which is good news for victims. In Kent, we have seen improvement from 84% accuracy to the mid 90s.

That’s tens of thousands of offences potentially being recorded now that wouldn’t have been two years ago.

Once you add changes to the way they are recorded, you get further issues with comparison. A fight outside a pub involving four people might have in the past been one crime. Now it would be five crimes for one incident. You also have to consider new offences being added to the statute books such as modern slavery and stalking, and greater confidence of victims to report.

A knock-on effect of improved recording practices and the changes noted above is that published raw data is then difficult to compare with past data. In truth, the Police Recorded Crime figures and the Crime Survey for England and Wales are both flawed as absolute measures of police performance.

But we are not complacent. Instead, every local Police and Crime Commissioner holds their own Chief Constable to account by understanding the various demands their own force faces – around 80% of which is non-crime related – and by assessing how effective and efficient their force is at meeting those demands.

And where there are concerns around specific issues, PCCs are helping to find solutions as I have been doing with my Violence Reduction Challenge in Kent, for example, and boosting Police numbers.

For the best, honest commentary on this issue, always read www.ons.gov.uk.

Matthew

4 Comments

  1. Well at the moment at least a dozen crimes are being committed by youngsters every day in Walderslade ,Weedswood and Lordswood.They are throwing rocks stones and eggs at buses and cars, people are getting very angry as now the bus companies have stopped providing buses for some routes .We also have two groups of young cyclists doing wheelies in the middle of the roads which are very busy and they ride straight at the cars someone will get killed if the local police don’t do something drastic.

    • Hi Anne. If this is the case we need people to report it to Kent Police as this figures do not support this at the moment. In August, 94 crimes were recorded of which 16 were antisocial behaviour. I will take up your concerns with Kent Police but if this is happening and people aren’t saying so, they won’t get the full picture. Thanks for your feedback. Matthew

  2. It’s all good and well recoding crime and it’s really good you have all this data and figures but the point of police is to stop crime not record it. If there’s no police on the streets people do as they please and get away with it. Which is exactly what’s happening. Complete waste of time. The streets are unlawful and unruly.

    • Hi David. By law, Kent Police have to keep accurate records of every crime that takes place and tell the Home Office. They are also inspected on it. In order to tackle crime, Kent Police is recruiting 200 more Officers and work with local councils and myself from prevent it from happening in the first place. Thank you for your feedback. Matthew

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