Listen to any Tory politician at the moment and they’ve all got the mantra off pat “Crime is down, Police Reform is working”.
Is it? Let’s examine the evidence over the last few years.
This week has seen the release of the latest set of Crime Statistics (up to end of December 2016) by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and the Crime Survey of England and Wales (CSEW). You will no doubt recall that with the discrediting of Police Recorded Crime figures these are the stats that the government like to quote.
Interestingly, and conveniently ignored by the government, the ONS figures are consistently HIGHER than than the discredited Recorded Crime figures. So if they go up a bit, or come down a bit they are ALWAYS higher than the Police Recorded Crime equivalent.
And it didn’t take long following the release of the latest stats for our revered Policing Minister, Brandon Lewis, to jump in with both feet in a desperate bid to highlight the positives.
Part of the report stated
Comparable figures from the CSEW showed no statistically significant change compared with the previous year’s survey.
The best thing that Mr Lewis could trawl up in a vain attempt to counter that and keep the mantraalive was
Overall, according to Recorded Crime, crime is up by 9%
The police recorded a total of 4.8 million offences in the year ending December 2016, an annual rise of 9%. However, the large volume increases driving this trend are thought to reflect changes in recording processes and practices rather than crime.
Just how much longer can the ONS and the tired Tory party keep rolling out the “improved recording methods” excuse? In contrast to the ‘evil’ Police figures, CSEW declares in excess of 6 million crimes of all sorts, PLUS a further 5 million+ offences of fraud and cyber crime.
Almost all categories of crime recorded by CSEW/ONS are UP, but Brandon Lewis has this to say
CSE&W shows a decrease in crime compared to previous year. Recording/reporting going up is a good thing showing confidence & good procedure.
— Brandon Lewis (@BrandonLewis) April 27, 2017
Interestingly (to me at least) the ONS/CSEW data itemises crimes such as Theft of Bicycle but intriguingly does not have a seperate category for Knife Crime, strange that. If it doesn’t get measured it can’t go up I guess. They stopped recording that a couple of years agofor some reason.
So what is our response to this increase in crime? Mrs May, when she was Home Secretary, instructed the Police to cut back on the use of one of the most valuable tools in their toolbox, Stop and Search.
Theresa May, the Home Secretary, has unveiled a series of measures which will scale back the way police can stop and search suspects.
Tougher thresholds will mean officers in England and Wales are able to use the most controversial form of stop and search powers much less frequently. Mrs May said use of stop and search had become an “unacceptable affront to justice”
Well let me tell you Mrs May, Stop and Search, used correctly and lawfully, is a valuable tool in the fight against weapons, drugs and property crime (theft, Going Equipped to Steal etc). The answer is NOT to cut back on its use but to ensure that it is applied CORRECTLY.
I have had a sneaky peep at the levels of crime over the past few years and the use of Stop and Search, and it looks like this
Surely it can be no coincidence that at a time when Stop and Search reduces nationally, crime starts to rise again? The graph above was created using Police data, the CSEW figures suggest a small drop in the overall crime rate, but at a rate significantly higher than Police figures. On that scale CSEW figures would be off the top of the chart.
Just in case you don’t think that the drop-off in Stop in Search is very dramatic, that is an illusion of the scale of the chart.
On its own, for a single force it looks more like this:-
Still think it’s not very dramatic? They’re not all this dramatic, but they are all a similar shape.
It was 2014 when Mrs May decreed that there should a cutback in Stop and Search. Look at the national graph above. When did crime begin to increase again? How long have the Tories been telling us that Crime is Down, Police Reform is Working?
I would dare to suggest that that particular mantra is fundamentally and fatally flawed and they need a new one.
May I suggest Crime Is Up and Police Reform is Not Working?