Friday, October 20, 2006

Latest crime figures hide the reality

The latest crime figures have been released showing, once again, that crime overall has fallen - though violent crime and muggings continue to rise.

The powers that be will, no doubt, be patting themselves and each other on the back about the fall in crime - which is driven by the fall in burglaries and car crime.

What they will fail to acknowledge, as usual, is that the drop in burglaries and car crime has nothing to do with the efforts of the police or the courts, but is entirely due to home owners and car owners taking increasing steps to protect their houses and vehicles.

We all know, also, that recorded crime continues to fall because more and more people have given up calling the police. What's the point when you know they aren't going to do anything about it. So people don't bother reporting their garden walls being kicked in, the graffiti scrawled on their garage door or the bicycle stolen from the garden shed. They just clear it up, clean it off and get a replacement.

As Peel's 9th principle states "The test of police efficiency is the absence of crime and disorder, not the visible evidence of police action in dealing with it." The purpose of the crime figures (particularly the badly skewed BCS figures) is to provide the "visible evidence" to the public that the police and Home Office are dealing with it.

Rather than congratulating themselves, they ought to take a good long look at Peel's principles again.

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