Martin Partington: Spotlight on the Justice System

Keeping the English Legal System under review

Criminal statistics: questions of reliability

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The question of the reliability of criminal statistics is currently the subject of a very important investigation by the Public Administration Committee of the House of Commons. In evidence sessions held before Christmas, evidence was received of how statistics provided by police may be distorted by the practices local police forces adopt for the recording of crime.

The Committee is examining the quality and reliability of police recorded crime data. Issues covered may include:

  • the role of the Crime Statistics Advisory Committee in promoting statistical best practice among producers of crime data;
  • the practical realities of police crime-recording practices and the factors which may lead these to diverge from established national standards;
  • the extent to which the recorded crime data serve as a reliable indicator of national and local crime trends; and
  • whether adequate procedures are in place to promote a culture of data integrity within the police.

Witnesses have already told how the ways in which data are collected may reflect the need to satisfy particular government targets for policing.

The final outcomes and comment from Government will appear later in 2014.

See further http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/public-administration-select-committee/inquiries/parliament-2010/crime-statistics/

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Written by lwtmp

January 1, 2014 at 3:27 pm

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