The Statistics Commission which is
an independent non-departmental public body. It was set up in June 2000 to help ensure that official statistics are trustworthy and responsive to public needs. It operates independently of both Ministers and the producers of statistics;
has published its Crime Statistics User Perspectives interim report December 2005 (13 page .pdf)
This report confirms our impression that the two major sources of Crime Statistics, the British Crime Survey and the number of Crimes Recorded by the Police are being regularly manipulated by the Home Office for political ends, with the consequence that neither the media nor the public trusts them.
However our impression is that, faced with a sceptical and at times antagonistic press, the Home Office and other official bodies have sought to contain the flow of statistical messages – prescribing the frequency and form in which statistics are released, and making sure that policy responses are issued at the earliest possible moment, sometimes ahead of the figures themselves.
This leads to dangerous "policy setting via self fulfilling prophecy" e.g. "Sir Stephen Lander, SOCA, setting priorities via tabloid column inches"
The whole "Climate of Fear" over terrorism, engendered in the run up to the General Election, and used to push for even more repressive legislation is also partly based on Home Office manipulated statistics.
There are also whole categories of crimes which simply do not make it into the statstics e.g. most of those where the victims or perpatrators are under the age of 16.
The Statistics Commission does not mention that there is also massive under reporting of any types of Computer Crime. How many illegal and/or forged spam emails attempting various phishing frauds or offering fake branded goods, fake or illegal prescription only drugs, illegal pornography etc. did you get or filter from your email inbox today ? None of these scams make it into the crime statistics.
Similarly where is the recording of so called "identity theft" or "identity fraud", which is allegedly one of the reasons for the pernicious compulsoary centralised biometric datatbase National Identity Register and ID Card plan ?
The Guardian reports
The commission called for a review of crime statistics after it discovered the Home Office had issued a press release to the media on July 20, the day before the official crime statistics were published.
e.g. Crime down seven per cent of the 14th of July 2005.
It complained the press statement "was clearly a political statement and not a statistical one. It presents the key statistics alongside the government line that 'it is extremely encouraged by the figures'."
The Statistics Commission calls for the whole business of collating and publishing the crime statistics to be taken away from the Home Office and placed with an independent body.
Unless such an "arms length" body also has the power to consult with the public and to set the agenda of which crimes are actually recorded, then the Home Office politicians will still be able to massage the raw data which such a an independent criminal statistics body can publish.