UK : Government figures 'missing' two million violent crimes

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UK : Government figures 'missing' two million violent crimes

Postby GOSA » Thu, 2007-07-05 07:21

The Independent on Sunday

July 2007 11:06 Home > News > UK > Crime
Government figures 'missing' two million violent crimes
By David Barrett, PA Home Affairs Correspondent
Published: 26 June 2007

An extra two million violent crimes a year are committed in
Britain than previously thought because of a bizarre distortion
in the Government's flagship crime figures, it was claimed

A former Home Office research expert said that across all types
of crime, three million offences a year are excluded from the
British Crime Survey (BCS).

The poll caps the number of times a victim can be targeted by an
offender at five incidents a year.

If anyone interviewed for the survey says they have been
targeted more than five times a year, the sixth incident and
beyond are not included in the BCS.

The authors of a report by think-tank Civitas said the five-
crimes limit is " truly bizarre" and "misleading".

Professor Graham Farrell of Loughborough University and the
former acting head of the Home Office's Police Research Group,
Professor Ken Pease, calculated that if the cap is ignored, the
overall number of BCS crimes is more than 14 million rather than
the current 11 million a year estimate.

Violent crime is 82 per cent higher at 4.4 million offences
compared with 2.4 million in the BCS, the survey claims,
including a 156 per cent rise in " acquaintance violence" from
817,000 incidents to 2.1 million.

Domestic violence is 140 per cent higher, up from 357,000
incidents a year to 857,000, the authors said, while there are
nearly three million common assaults a year rather than the 1.5
million estimated by the BCS, a rise of 98 per cent.

Burglary is 20 per cent higher than currently estimated, at
877,000 a year, and vandalism is 24 per cent higher, the report

Robbery is 7 per cent up on the official estimates, or an extra
22,000 crimes bringing the yearly total to 333,000.

"If the people who say they suffered 10 incidents really did, it
is capping the series at five that distorts the rate," the
authors said.

"It is truly bizarre that the victimisation survey, based as it
is on the assumption that people will by and large tell the
truth about what happened to them, ... suddenly withdraws its
trust in their honesty when what they are told does not chime
with their own experience.

"Yet the reality is that some people are very frequently
victimised, and that frequent victimisation is what they suffer
rather than being an invention or exaggeration."

The cap of five crimes for repeat victims has operated ever
since the inception of the BCS in 1981.

Ministers claim the survey - which now polls 40,000 people a
year about their experiences of crime, is the most reliable
indicator of crime levels,

The authors said: "The unwillingness to believe the facts of
chronic victimisation means that crime control, police training
and criminal justice action are now substantially misdirected."

In particular, the system means that the most vulnerable people
in society may not be getting the police protection they require
from repeat offenders, the report said.
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