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This Is How We Know #CrimeStat Fudging Has Been Going On For Years

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I do apologise to you, my reader, but I couldn’t let this go unchallenged any longer.

I very nearly said “Damn” when I saw this.

Mr Tom Winsor, Head Fred at HMIC, said in May 2013, “Police could be fiddling crime figures, watchdog warns”  Tom Winsor, HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary, said he wanted to review how all the country’s police forces record crimes amid concerns officers are deliberately changing statistics.

In November last year our own Constable James Patrick, and Dr Roger Patrick (no relation) appeared before Bernard Jenkin MP’s Public Administration Select Committee and told the Committee of their concerns that Police Crime Stats were being ‘fudged’. James was brave indeed and informed the Committee EXACTLY how it was being done, Dr Roger Patrick, broadly speaking, backed up James’ allegations adding his own two pennyworth with definitions and examples of Cuffing, Stitching, Skewing and Nodding.

The other invited witnesses giving evidence that day did nothing to contradict what Messrs Patrick were stating and Committee Members were left suitably aghast that this was going on.

One very high-ranking officer, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe QPM later told the PASC that some of the claims were “worthy of further investigation” but that he needed “to hear more detail”……. “On occasion there might be some inaccuracy but I think on the whole there’s a truth there we need to hear.”

The commissioner said he had not spoken to PC Patrick about his claims but that the Met would in due course.  An internal inquiry, led by deputy commissioner Craig Mackey, has been launched into around 20 claims made by the officer.  “If he has been making these claims for a long time it would have been best they were resolved before now,” Sir Bernard added.

Tom Winsor, who as Chief Inspector of Constabulary for England and Wales, is leading an inquiry into crime statistics, told the committee he was in no doubt it would uncover “some fiddling of the figures“.

So far, so good, this much we know.

Then I was browsing t’interweb and I came across an old article in The Torygraph dated 5th December 2009.  Much of the article consisted of allegations about crime stat fudging from the very same Dr Roger Patrick, with his Cuffing, Skewing, Nodding and Stitching.

But it also contained some very damning specifics;

In one case, an offender shot at another man at close range but missed and broke a window behind his target. The offence was recorded as criminal damage rather than attempted murder.

One detective, who declined to be named, said: “Name any crime and I’ll tell you how it can be fiddled.”

Simon Reed, vice-chairman of the Police Federation, which represents front line officers, said: “This research demonstrates that senior officers are directing and controlling widespread manipulation of crime figures. “The public are misled, politicians can claim crime is falling and chief officers are rewarded with performance-related bonuses.”

Denis O’Connor, the [then] Chief Inspector of Constabulary, published an official report into the way police record violent crime and admitted the figures may be skewed by “perverse incentives” around government performance targets.

Dr Patrick found that watchdogs such as Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) and the Police Standards Unit had a “general tendency to underplay the scale and nature” of gaming.

He was scathing of HMIC’s failure to tackle the problem, noting there were no examples of chief police officers being publicly criticised by inspectors for this type of crime figure manipulation.

HMIC tended privately to refer examples of widespread gaming to the Home Secretary or the police authority rather than “hold the chief constable to account” because of the risk of political embarrassment, he said.

Dr Patrick concluded that HMIC inspectors should be made accountable to Parliament rather than the Home Office, and suggested they should be drawn from other professions rather than solely from senior police ranks. [well that bit happened]

So there we are, all of this was known and brought to the attention of HMIC in 2009, and only now is their Head Fred pontificating on it and thinking that it might well happen. Professional #epicfail by HMIC? Own Goal?

Call it what you want, I call it disgraceful. I would respectfully suggest that this totally vindicates PC James Patrick and how the hell can senior officers like BHH claim that they were unaware of the scale of the problem? Founder members of the Ostrich Club? How dare any one of them criticise James Patrick and any other officers facing a similar dilemma when this has been know for YEARS.

It didn’t start in 2009, it’s been going on for decades. It isn’t helped by successive Home Secretaries introducing different Counting Rules, political interference at its worst and most irresponsible.

Even former Commissioner Lord Stevens has now weighed in to the debate.

Giving evidence to the Commons’ home affairs select committee, Lord Stevens said: “Ever since I’ve been in police service there has been a fiddling of figures. I remember being a detective constable where we used to write off crimes.”

Asked by Keith Vaz MP, the committee chairman, if it was still going on, Lord Stevens replied: “Of course it is. In certain forces.”

There’s the evidence, been going on for years, and it’s an absolute bloody disgrace that HMIC sit in judgement but appear at face value to have completely ignored Dr Patrick’s 2009 findings. Surely an enquiry into figures can’t take 5 years can it?

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11 thoughts on “This Is How We Know #CrimeStat Fudging Has Been Going On For Years”

  1. To find out what`s really going on go to a blog by Professor claude Fischer titled: A crime puzzle; violent crime declines in America
    Scroll down till you come to comment by Peter Martin. Click on the link within that comment “my blog.”
    Or go direct to my blog:

  2. How could I ever forget those delightful Bumblebee Days, and yes, I completely agree about crimes being downgraded to suit the strategy of the day and you had the keep the Tasking Group happy or you got no funding for your next initiative. Another sneaky trick I encountered was (occasionally granted) No Criming a few crimes then reclassifying them after they’d been counted, although I think with CRIS that had a tendency to show up somewhere else the following month.

  3. England and Wales crime falls to lowest level in 32 years
    You can stop laughing now! Read on mcduff….
    While the headline figure is down, detailed police recorded crime figures show ‘signs of increasing upward pressure’ in specific austerity-related crimes.

    Crime has fallen by an unexpected 10% over the last year, with 8m offences estimated by the authoritative Crime Survey of England and Wales – the lowest level since it started 32 years ago.
    Are they pulling our tadgers or what?

    Over all the years I have been analysing recorded crime, crime in general and detections, I have less faith in the Crime Survey than I do in recorded crime.

    Whilst I believe the numbers are probably closer to the real picture with the survey at 8million crimes per year, one simple question has always screamed out at me…

    If the survey only deals with the responses from 50,000 respondents, many of whom were not actually victims of crime, how the heck do they arrive at any sort of national figure other than by “best guessing?”
    Latest figures from the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) estimate that there were 8.0 million crimes against households and resident adults in the previous twelve months, based on interviews with a nationally representative sample** in the year ending September 2013. This was down 10% compared with the previous year’s survey, and is the lowest estimate over the history of the survey, which began in 1981. *** (THIS IS THE CRUX OF IT! A representative sample? 50,000 respondents enables them to guess at 8 million??. That is like in my business, asking 10 insurance brokers how many policies they think they will sell, then basing my actual sales performance on that instead of the REAL sales my 2,000 broker customers will actually sell).
    The police recorded 3.7 million offences in the year ending September 2013, a decrease of 3% compared with the previous year.

    3.7million vs 8million… Go on lads, have a guess, any old number will do, the public haven’t got a clue anyway we’ve been fudging for so long!

    BOTH of these systems are absolutely useless and worthless measures of real crime in England & Wales. The fact is the service has lost much of its credibility and the survey is just that, a survey, and a pretty pathetic representative one at that.

    Scrap both of them. Wipe the slate clean. Admit the books have not only been cooked, they’re burnt to a cinder, which is all they’re good for, fuel for the fire.

    Start again, afresh, with all the incentives to manipulate removed. Score no points for fallacious crime reductions and detection increases. Let’s get to the truth once and for all. Only by arriving at that juncture will PCC’s , the Government, Police leaders and we, the tax payers know more precisely what resources are actually needed to provide an adequate policing solution. Anything less remains a fudge with which politicians will continue their mantra that the service can achieve more with less.
    National policing lead on crime statistics, Chief Constable Jeff Farrar, responds to crime statistics published today (January 23, 2014).
    National policing lead on crime statistics, Chief Constable Jeff Farrar said:
    “It is encouraging that the number of crimes reported to the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) has fallen by 10 per cent when compared with last year. This is the lowest estimate over the entire history of the survey, which began in 1981 and is now less than half of its peak in 1995.”
    “There has also been a three per cent fall in police recorded crime and it is positive that both measures continue to indicate that crime is falling across the country, and that the gap between the two sets of figures continues to narrow.
    “The reduction of crime shown in the CSEW includes significant reductions in vehicle and property crime, alongside personal crime. While there has been an increase in the amount of shoplifting and theft from the person recorded by police, there were reductions across the main categories of police recorded crime – such as a nine per cent decrease in the number of offences involving knives and sharp instruments, and a five per cent decrease in the number of offences involving firearms.
    “The number of sexual offences recorded by police has increased by 17 per cent. Many of these are historical offences, recorded in the wake of multiple high-profile cases which have encouraged victims to come forward.
    “We would always encourage anyone who has suffered abuse, no matter how much time has passed, to report it and have their voice heard. It’s also incredibly important that anyone who has been through the trauma of abuse or sexual assault is provided with support for what they’ve been through.
    “Fraud has continued to be a focus for police forces across England and Wales, and the service recently introduced a more efficient centralised crime recording system. This move towards centralised recording is considered to be responsible, in part, for the 34 per cent increase in fraud offences recorded by the police in the year ending September 2013, when compared to the same period in 2012.
    “Accurate crime statistics are not only essential in holding police accountable for the work they do in the ongoing fight against crime, but also vital in ensuring that police officers and staff are deployed to the right place at the right time.
    “It is disappointing that the UK Statistics Authority has decided to remove the National Statistics designation from police recorded crime statistics as this has come at a time when the service is working to make crime statistics more transparent, more accountable and assure the public of the figures’ integrity.
    “However, the police service, supported by HMIC, the Home Office, the Office of National Statistics, the College of Policing and the Crime Statistics Advisory Committee will continue to work hard in order to achieve accuracy and consistency in recorded crime in order to see the National Statistics designation restored. “

    Hardly surprising ACPO are clinging on to the reduction in crime mantra based on the equally flawed Crime Survey.
    For heavens sakes Ladies & Gentlemen of ACPO, find a spine somewhere, admit you haven’t really got a clue whether crime is up, down, diagonal or side-ways.
    How could you know? Recorded crime is fiddled mercilessly. The crime survey is a pathetic representation of real life.
    Whilst you continue with this obfuscation and deceit, you will NEVER regain public confidence.
    ACPO : Always Create Public Outrage … Well you’ve succeeded again guys!

    1. I’ve said it before Steve and I’ll say it again – make the stats accurate and tell the public the TRUTH. Not a popular concept I know, but a worthy one., it’s in no Bobby’s interest to fiddle the figures

      1. The Bobbies (sheesh! when are we going to drop this Toytown epithet) don’t massage the figures, these orders come down from on high. Having worked street, squad and crime desks in my 30 years, time and time again, essentially the targets were either Street Robberies or Burglaries, In the Met the target was determined at a political level either Westminster or local Council and District Commanders obliged to comply.
        Street Robberies were generally down played to Theft Person or Theft Elsewhere.
        Burglaries were relegated to Criminal Damage, Theft Elsewhere, Theft Residential or No Res depending on the type of building. Garages or established sheds were never burglaries even though they complied as premises with S9(1)(a) &(b)
        Shall I bore you will the struggles I had when I worked Op Bumblebee.

  4. What annoys me more is the fact that the Met used to run regular Ethical Audits on their crime figures that showed up the problems immediately. Heaven knows if they still do it but if they do they must know what’s going on and if they’re not why have they stopped?

  5. I know mate. I’ve been blogging about it since 2009 and it’s only just hitting the surface now. Retired DCI Rodger Patrick and I have colluded on this for a few years now and both submitted evidence to PASC. I am thankful Rodger was called as he’s more academically minded than I. We agreed long ago he would prepare the academic research, I would blog it in lay-mans language as best as I could.

    We both agree this is just the tip of the iceberg. As we all know, recorded crime is closely linked to detections, which is another hornets nest waiting to be prized open.

    What really got my goat was discovered that Chiefs and SMT’s had received up to 15% on top of their 6 figure salaries to show crime was falling. Totally bent. Yet they deny it to this day, claiming it’s not endemic! I saw 43 forces performing good bad and indifferently, suddenly become master crime reducers when bonus incentives were introduced. Within 3 years 42 out of 43 reported massive reductions in crime and increases in detections.

    Hans Christian Anderson couldn’t have written the story better!

    Good to find another “like-mind” on the web. Keep them coming mate, hopefully we’ll force some reform eventually.

    Kind regards

    Steve B

  6. Course it has been going on for years, when was it the CC of Kent was hung out to dry for admitting fixing figures for his overlords? Late 70’s early 80’s it was huge news at the time. It is about time BHH and his cronies had the bottle to stand up to their political masters and actually spoke the truth, and if they really don’t know what is going on then they should be fired.
    Alex, ex-Met 30 years.

  7. Only just found you! Excellent article succinctly summarising the statistics mess. Posted a link to you over on my site at the thin blue line uk blog. Kind regards … Steve Bennett Retired West Mids Police.

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