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Crime Of The Century - A Chilling Look At Crime Statistics In The UK


In that force, a separate method of recording those ‘difficult to detect’ crimes, was discovered. This was known as a ‘Miscellaneous Book’ and anything recorded therein did not show up in the performance figures, thereby giving the appearance the detection rate was higher. Upon examination, clear examples were found of crimes, some serious, which should have been recorded in the official way.


It was proposed that as from 1st April 1999, most detections achieved by post sentence interviews of offender will no longer be counted by the Home Office towards the detected crime figures of police forces. If this is the case, chief officers may still wish the interviews to take place to gather crime intelligence and to reassure victims of crime that the perpetrator has been discovered and is serving a sentence. If the rules set out in letters to chief officers by successive HM Chief Inspectors of Constabulary are adhered to, there is no reason why they should not be undertaken with complete integrity. The key is if a crime is to be attributed to a particular person, it must be provable by evidence which, if given in court would be likely to result in a conviction. Commonly, this should at least include an unprompted admission containing accurate features of the crime only the perpetrator would have known. Her Majesty’s Inspector urges those senior police officers authorising such detections to tolerate nothing less than that standard.


Her Majesty’s Inspector, whilst overwhelmingly supporting increasing effectiveness, stressed the importance of public confidence. He regards how results are obtained is as important as what is achieved. He considers crime recording systems should be formalised and monitored, avoiding any unethical under-recording designed to boost a flagging detection rate.


Bending the Rules


Her Majesty’s Inspector sought to determine whether there is a tendency for officers to bend the rules in order to circumvent perceived obstacles in the criminal justice system. Despite there being a general feeling the rules are weighted too heavily in favour of the criminal rather than the victim of crime, this was not raised as an issue as frequently as might have been the case in earlier times, although some strong views to that effect were expressed. Whilst the Inspection Team concluded any bending of the rules is largely an activity of the past, broadly, it is seen by those still guilty of it as not being for personal gain but to protect society, and therefore not at the worst end of corruption. This is sometimes referred to as ‘noble cause corruption’, which, like the term ‘joyriding’, somehow seems to lend a sense of legitimacy to unlawful activity. Her Majesty’s Inspector totally rejects this view and repeats the requirement for investigations to be carried out entirely within the rules, otherwise the credibility of the whole Service is devalued – the police do not administer justice but enforce the law with justice.


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