Police forces in England and Wales regularly manipulate crime figures in order to meet targets and distort realities about police performance, serving and retired officers tell MPs.
According to the Public Administration Select Committee (PASK) of the British House of Commons, statistics on rape and sexual crimes are routinely falsified to showcase police performance.
PASK is tasked with considering the quality and standards of services provided by civil service departments in England and Wales.
“This is a really savage thing to say, that we can’t trust the leadership of our constabularies to measure their own performance,” said Committee Chairman Bernard Jenkin, adding that he was “shocked” by such offences “on such a wide scale.”
Retired and incumbent police officers disclosed some of the methods applied to skew information, which included devaluing crimes to unimportant ones and encouraging victims not to file a complaint.
Metropolitan Police Constable James Patrick, who is presently awaiting disciplinary proceedings due to the publication of a whistleblowing book, told the committee about the data manipulation.
He was seriously concerned about the distortion of information after joining the police in 2009 and finding that robberies were logged as “theft snatch” to appear less serious.
He also found other discrepancies between the numbers of reported crimes and those finally recorded.
“Burglary is an area where crimes are downgraded or moved into other brackets, such as criminal damage for attempted burglaries, or other types of thefts,” Patrick said.
“Things were clearly being reported as burglaries and you would then re-run the same report after there had been a human intervention – a management intervention – and these burglaries effectively disappeared in a puff of smoke.”
Patrick also said he analyzed the registration of sexual offences and found that in 80 percent of cases, they were incorrectly recorded as “no crime.”