Headlines: August 3rd, 2000

The Home Office is to attempt much greater accuracy and consistency in the collection of information about crime. It admits that the current crime statistics it works to can be inaccurate, and do not match the picture of crime as experienced by people on the streets. Reliable statistics are seen as essential to better identify crime trends and enable the police to direct activity more effectively and efficiently.The “Review of Crime Statistics” consultation paper contains proposals to provide for greater accuracy and consistency in data collection across the 43 police forces and improve the way in which information on crime is presented and interpreted. Sensitive to accusations of figure-rigging, the Government is keen to stress that the review is a genuine attempt to improve crime data, which has cross-party support.

The main recommendations include recording all allegations of crime and disorder, not just those which producing sufficient evidence to suggest to police officers that a crime has been committed. They also propose thorough training of police officers on use and analysis of data and that seniorofficers take responsibility for ensuring the data collected is accurate. Forces and police associations are being consulted up to the end of October. Copies of the Home Office’s Review of Crime Statistics, and supporting reports which have built up to the review, will be available on the Home Office website www.homeoffice.gov.