Yes, the police manage and massage the crime figures to meet targets and objectives and get away with it, as Simon Jenkins reported in the Guardian. I’ve written about the inherent problem of a system in which those who deal with crime profit from more of it, though they may lie to imply their budgets are being well spent in reducing it. The first chapter extract below, reveals an omission from the Recorded Crime figures that dwarfs its manipulation by the police. The second extract is on how to slash crime figures overnight – for real.
Clips from the Guardian article by Simon Jenkins
“The cause of the mayhem was a couple of police officers telling an otherwise somnolent public administration committee that only fools believed crime figures. Everyone knew they were fixed to meet ministerial targets. In the argot of the beat, the figures were “cuffed, skewed, nodded and stitched”…The Association of Chief Police Officers agreed that crime figures “simply cannot be relied upon”, but did so as if discussing a random weather forecast… Women reporting rape to the local police were simply being told to go home and have a bath…. Drug busts could be relied on to improve “clear-up” rates because everyone was guilty.” Full story here.
From: Our Problems, Our Solutions, Chapter 11 (notes accompanying a table of Recorded Crime figures in the UK)
“These gradual increases in notifiable crime (1999-2007) took place against a backdrop of proliferating CCTV cameras and improved technology and surveillance techniques, plus a steady increase in both the cost and number of police. Cybercrime is not a notifiable offense, even though it is the field of choice for a new generation of online criminals. Why break windows and wield weapons when you can sit at a keyboard? So if somebody steals your life’s savings by pretending to be an online bank, it’s not worth recording. But if the same person shows you a knife and empties your pockets, then the crime goes on record. No wonder cybercrime is booming.
Crime figures, clogged courts, and jail numbers could all be slashed overnight, but why would police, judges, or jailers want that to happen? An extract from “Victimess Crimes” – chapter 17
Nobody keeps track of how many billions are wasted worldwide every year trying to prevent members of the public from committing crimes without a victim, catching them when they do, processing them through courts, and securing them in overcrowded prisons thereafter. They have committed “crimes” that could harm no one but themselves, and often not even that. In some cases the prohibition is justified by a risk that is lower than many permitted activities, from skiing and horseback riding to drinking in bars or eating at fast food outlets. Millions of lives are actually damaged simply because people are indulging in activities the state has deemed possibly dangerous or decidedly deviant, whether that’s protesting in public without a permit; buying and selling unlicensed herbal medicines or unapproved mood-altering drugs; partaking in dangerous sports; enjoying illicit forms of sex; attending unlicensed parties; dancing or singing without a permit; exposing your body in public; changing religion in fundamentalist countries; exceeding the speed limit at 3 AM; and much more besides.”
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