The Statistics Commission today publishes its review of crime statistics.
Introducing the report, chairman David Rhind said:
'Crime statistics are the quintessential 'official figures', a measure both of society and of government, telling us something about the social hazards we face and something about our success in containing those hazards'.
The report makes a number of recommendations which the commission will now be pursuing with the Home Office and others as appropriate. The recommendations follow four main themes:
-- structural separation between Home Office policy functions and the compilation and publication of crime statistics
-- improved communication with users through clearer presentation of the statistics at the time of publication
-- better, more consistent, crime data for small areas, through more systematic exploitation of existing police data sources
-- further technical research on options where the existing statistics do not fully meet demand - including the best measure of 'total crime', and ways to improve comparisons of crime statistics between UK administrations.
In January 2006, the then home secretary set up a cross-party working group, under the chairmanship of Adrian Smith, to review, and advise ministers on, how crime statistics should be compiled and published.
The commission has stayed in touch with this group whilst developing its own independent report and will respond to the Smith group's conclusions once they are published.
The Statistics Commission was set up in June 2000 to advise on the quality, quality assurance and priority setting for official statistics, and on the procedures designed to deliver statistical integrity, to help ensure official statistics are trustworthy and responsive to public needs. It is independent both of ministers and of the producers of official statistics.