Statistics presented by police allow for plenty of wiggle room

Readers' letters | Published:

I see that crime statistics, as logged by the police, for the year end September are up 14 per cent.

The Met Police

Another survey, also done by the National Office of Statistics, based on interviews with the public suggests that crime fell by 10 per cent in the same period.

I looked at some crime figures for the relevant police statistical department based in Scotland Yard and found that over a period crimes committed with firearms counted for one crime regardless of the number of people committing the crime. Another period showed the same crimes but if five people were criminally involved it counted as five crimes! Really the figures should have been rebased so the same criteria was used for both data sets.

It’s what is called “wiggle” room and you can wiggle at the point something occurs, at the point where it is input to the system, at the point of analysis and comparison and also at the point of presentation.

I know of a chief superintendent no less, who wiggled out of a very awkward situation which is why he shall remain nameless.

He caught some tope, they look like baby sharks, and this led him to dump them on the shore. This was picked up by some environmentalists who blamed a local chemical company for pollution. The whole thing escalated until he had to appear on a televised press conference to answer questions. He had to do this in a truthful way but in a way that would not reveal his role in the saga.

“Do you think that pollution has a role in this Chief Superintendent?”

“Well there is nothing to indicate that right now,” he answered and so it went.

Wiggler of the century award, surely? Good job his wife thought it funny. An outstanding individual by any definition but also competent, modest, and honest. Best not to mention his name though.

Robin Lloyd



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