I do apologise to you, my reader, but I couldn’t let this go unchallenged any longer.
I very nearly said “Damn” when I saw this.
Mr Tom Winsor, Head Fred at HMIC, said in May 2013, “Police could be fiddling crime figures, watchdog warns” Tom Winsor, HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary, said he wanted to review how all the country’s police forces record crimes amid concerns officers are deliberately changing statistics.
In November last year our own Constable James Patrick, and Dr Roger Patrick (no relation) appeared before Bernard Jenkin MP’s Public Administration Select Committee and told the Committee of their concerns that Police Crime Stats were being ‘fudged’. James was brave indeed and informed the Committee EXACTLY how it was being done, Dr Roger Patrick, broadly speaking, backed up James’ allegations adding his own two pennyworth with definitions and examples of Cuffing, Stitching, Skewing and Nodding.
The other invited witnesses giving evidence that day did nothing to contradict what Messrs Patrick were stating and Committee Members were left suitably aghast that this was going on.
One very high-ranking officer, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe QPM later told the PASC that some of the claims were “worthy of further investigation” but that he needed “to hear more detail”……. “On occasion there might be some inaccuracy but I think on the whole there’s a truth there we need to hear.”
The commissioner said he had not spoken to PC Patrick about his claims but that the Met would in due course. An internal inquiry, led by deputy commissioner Craig Mackey, has been launched into around 20 claims made by the officer. “If he has been making these claims for a long time it would have been best they were resolved before now,” Sir Bernard added.
Tom Winsor, who as Chief Inspector of Constabulary for England and Wales, is leading an inquiry into crime statistics, told the committee he was in no doubt it would uncover “some fiddling of the figures“.
So far, so good, this much we know.
Then I was browsing t’interweb and I came across an old article in The Torygraph dated 5th December 2009. Much of the article consisted of allegations about crime stat fudging from the very same Dr Roger Patrick, with his Cuffing, Skewing, Nodding and Stitching.
But it also contained some very damning specifics;
In one case, an offender shot at another man at close range but missed and broke a window behind his target. The offence was recorded as criminal damage rather than attempted murder.
One detective, who declined to be named, said: “Name any crime and I’ll tell you how it can be fiddled.”
Simon Reed, vice-chairman of the Police Federation, which represents front line officers, said: “This research demonstrates that senior officers are directing and controlling widespread manipulation of crime figures. “The public are misled, politicians can claim crime is falling and chief officers are rewarded with performance-related bonuses.”
Denis O’Connor, the [then] Chief Inspector of Constabulary, published an official report into the way police record violent crime and admitted the figures may be skewed by “perverse incentives” around government performance targets.
Dr Patrick found that watchdogs such as Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) and the Police Standards Unit had a “general tendency to underplay the scale and nature” of gaming.
He was scathing of HMIC’s failure to tackle the problem, noting there were no examples of chief police officers being publicly criticised by inspectors for this type of crime figure manipulation.
HMIC tended privately to refer examples of widespread gaming to the Home Secretary or the police authority rather than “hold the chief constable to account” because of the risk of political embarrassment, he said.
Dr Patrick concluded that HMIC inspectors should be made accountable to Parliament rather than the Home Office, and suggested they should be drawn from other professions rather than solely from senior police ranks. [well that bit happened]
So there we are, all of this was known and brought to the attention of HMIC in 2009, and only now is their Head Fred pontificating on it and thinking that it might well happen. Professional #epicfail by HMIC? Own Goal?
Call it what you want, I call it disgraceful. I would respectfully suggest that this totally vindicates PC James Patrick and how the hell can senior officers like BHH claim that they were unaware of the scale of the problem? Founder members of the Ostrich Club? How dare any one of them criticise James Patrick and any other officers facing a similar dilemma when this has been know for YEARS.
It didn’t start in 2009, it’s been going on for decades. It isn’t helped by successive Home Secretaries introducing different Counting Rules, political interference at its worst and most irresponsible.
Even former Commissioner Lord Stevens has now weighed in to the debate.
Giving evidence to the Commons’ home affairs select committee, Lord Stevens said: “Ever since I’ve been in police service there has been a fiddling of figures. I remember being a detective constable where we used to write off crimes.”
Asked by Keith Vaz MP, the committee chairman, if it was still going on, Lord Stevens replied: “Of course it is. In certain forces.”
There’s the evidence, been going on for years, and it’s an absolute bloody disgrace that HMIC sit in judgement but appear at face value to have completely ignored Dr Patrick’s 2009 findings. Surely an enquiry into figures can’t take 5 years can it?