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Conservatives will continue to judge crime statistics on police records rather than an opinion survey

LiesIndy The Independent this morning splashes on the rebuke of the Conservative Party by the UK Statistics Authority for claiming violent crime has increased. The UKSA chairman Sir Michael Scholar has said that it is not fair to compare recorded crime statistics today with those from a decade ago because there were changes in recording practice in 2002-03.

The press are personifying it as an attack on Shadow Home Secretary Chris Grayling, but the fact is that his predecessors in the role, David Davis and Dominic Grieve - and indeed the party centrally - have been using the same statistical comparisons for the last five years. 

It is all part of an ongoing battle between the Government and the Conservatives over which set of crime figures to use. Labour prefer the British Crime Survey - which shows a fall in crime - but which is based on an opinion survey rather than real records and fails to take account of hundreds of thousands of offences including murder, manslaughter, crimes against commercial premises and crimes against under-16s.

The Tories have consistently argued in favour of using recorded crime figures as collated by the police in police stations - the figures subject to the change in recording practice a few years ago.

What the Government and the UKSA are effectively saying is that there is no way of making any comparison between crime figures from when Labour came to power and the present day that involves real police records, which seems a ridiculous position. Almost designed, perhaps?

Chris Grayling has responded robustly to the UKSA, pointing out that such figures “have been used by us, by the Liberal Democrats, by the Home Office and by the BBC to illustrate crime trends since Labour came to power."

Furthermore, it is inconceivable that, for example, a 98% increase in violent crime leading to injury over the last decade can be explained away by a change in methodology.

> Chris Grayling featured in this BBC report last night explaining his position.

Jonathan Isaby

11am LeftWatch: The real statistical crime is that Labour is making it harder and harder for anyone to compare government performance over time


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