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Police statistics ‘may not be reliable’ – UKSA

Crime data recorded by the police has been downgraded by the UK Statistics Authority (UKSA) following evidence that it may not be reliable.

Recorded crimes will no longer be designated as national statistics, the UKSA has announced. There are high-profile concerns about police integrity coming from both the home affairs and public administration select committees.

UKSA chairman, Sir Andrew Dilnot, said in a letter: “The authority has ... removed the national statistics designation from statistics based on recorded crime data until such time as ONS, working with the Home Office, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary, or other appropriate bodies, is able to demonstrate that the quality of the underlying data, and the robustness of the ongoing audit and quality assurance procedures, are sufficient to support the production of police recorded crime statistics to a level of quality that meets users’ needs.”

The Crime Survey for England and Wales, which is also used to measure the crime rate, is not affected by this move.

Keith Vaz MP, chair of the home affairs select committee, said: “This is an extraordinary step which fuels the concern around the reliability of crime statistics.

“The recent allegations of manipulation of crime figures go right to the heart of the public trust in the police and how crime figures are compiled.

"It is vital that we understand if crime data is being incorrectly recorded by the police."

ONS director general Glen Watson said: “ONS welcomes this very important UK Statistics Authority report. We look forward to working closely with the Home Office and Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary to respond to all of its recommendations.

“We have already highlighted our concerns about the quality of crime recording by the police, and the variations in trends between recorded crime and our own Crime Survey for England and Wales. I am pleased this has been recognised by the Authority.”

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