Tories on defensive over crime stats

By staff

The Tories have been forced onto the defensive after media reports suggested they had distributed misleading figures on crime.

Official figures were sent out to local Tory activists without the Home Office warning that figures for before and after 2002 are not comparable.

The methodology of the crime statistics changed significantly during that period, the BBC report suggested, because the alleged victim of the crime, rather than police officers, decided whether it should be recorded as a violent crime.

That change had the effect of raising recorded violent crime by 35%.

“There are certainly changes in the recording methods, but the point is that they are the only comparators available. They are published by the Home Office,” shadow home secretary Chris Grayling told the Today programme this morning.

“We don’t create crime figures. We use the official crime figures published by the Home Office. The Home Office has continued to use the same comparators.

“As an opposition party, we don’t make the statistics. We can only use what the Home Office publishes.”

The British Crime Survey suggests experience of violent crime has fallen by 50% since 1995, but Mr Grayling suggested the survey does not properly monitor crime because it fails to include crimes such as murder and manslaughter.

“If you talk to anybody in the streets, and particularly in the poorest areas which are most affected by violent crime, you will find people will absolutely say that violent crime has risen sharply over the last ten years,” he said.

“The reality is that that is the life they are experiencing.”

The Liberal Democrats suggested the party was truing to find figures which suited their political agenda.

“It seems that the Tories will go to ever increasing lengths to make David Cameron’s ridiculous claims about broken society seem credible,” Lib Dem home affairs spokesman Chris Huhne said

“Before they start to point the finger on violent crime, the Tories should consider their own record – violent crime rose every year between 1979 and 1997 and nearly doubled overall.”