According to this Statistics Commission Report No. 30, Crime Statistics: User Perspectives
September 2006 (195 pages .pdf) the "official" Crime Statistics issued by the Home Office, both the number of crimes recorded by the Police, and the British Crime Survey, are still fundamentally "not fit for purpose".
The report shows that the Home Office still cannot be trusted with them, and says that the BCS should be run by the Office for National Statistics instead.
If we consider the different purposes that the public have for crime [statistics] then they are generally not fit for purpose.
Key reasons underpinning this conclusion are:
- Limitations with the crime statistics themselves. For instance, the lack of neighbourhood level statistics and the extent to which statistics reflect public perceptions of crimes such as violence.
- The role of the media as a mediator between crime statistics as published and their consumption by the public. It was recognised that the media pursue a range of agendas and interests and tend to focus on stories about individual, atypical crimes rather than statistics. Although journalists who specialise in Home Affairs do sometimes have a good understanding of the crime statistics, the wider media sometimes distorts statistical information it reports due to a lack of understanding.
- The lack of public trust in crime statistics. This lack of trust is not specific to crime statistics.
- The public’s ability to interpret crime statistics. Neither survey data nor police-recorded crime are well understood by the public. In particular the relationship between the BCS and recorded crime statistics causes confusion.
If that sounds familiar, it should be, because they said essentially the same thing (as well as noticing how the timing of the publication of these statistics was being spun politically) in February 2006 and also last July 2005.