Police ‘fess up to “endemic manipulation” of crime figures

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Police ‘fess up to “endemic manipulation” of crime figures

Officers use techniques such as cuffing, nodding and stitching to make figures look better, MPs hear
POLICE are routinely massaging official crime figures to meet targets and make the performance of forces look better, MPs were told yesterday.

Serious crimes have been downgraded and sexual offences categorised as “no crimes” – incidents that are recorded but then closed – it was claimed.

Retired and serving police officers told the House of Commons Public Administration Select Committee that the techniques to disguise the true extent of offending were known by senior officers and were common knowledge at every level of every police force in England and Wales.

The evidence given to MPs raises serious doubts about the reliability of official police figures.

 The figures show that the number of recorded crimes fell by five per cent to 3.7million in the year to June, the lowest level in a decade.

James Patrick, a Metropolitan police constable currently awaiting disciplinary proceedings over a whistle-blowing book, said that burglaries sometimes “disappeared in a puff of smoke”. Dr Rodger Patrick, a former West Midlands chief inspector, claimed that police use a number of techniques to change the figures. These included:

Cuffing:  Reducing the number of crimes recorded by describing multiple incidents as a single crime, for example, or reducing the number of thefts recorded by describing stolen goods as lost property.

Nodding:   An offender might admit to a number of offences in return for incentives, such as a reduced sentence.

Skewing: Forces put resources into areas measured by performance targets. For example, they might invest more in investigating burglaries to the dettriment of crimes such as rape.

Stitching: Police officers claim that an informal warning has been given without the offender ever having been informed of it.

Bernard Jenkin, chairman of the committee, described the revelations as “very shocking” and said it sounded as if a system of incentives in the police service had become “inherently corrupting”. He added: “This is a really savage thing to say, that we can’t trust the leadership of our constabularies to measure their own performance.”

Greg Mulholland, the Liberal Democrat MP for Leeds North West, said he was “amazed and appalled” and believed the officers had “blown the lid off what appears to be endemic manipulation of the crime figures.”

Read more:Â http://www.theweek.co.uk/uk-news/56152/police-confess-endemic-manipulation-crime-figures#ixzz2lCzRpyHC

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