BBC Complaints: The link you need!

Wednesday, 3 February 2010


Also on Newsnight, I see that Susan Watts's report on the IPCC's latest blunders featured among its talking heads one Mike Hulme, labelled only as 'Professor of Environmental Sciences'. I wondered where he was professor at, as Newsnight generally mentions an academic's place of work. It certainly did with the other academics in the piece, namely 'Professor Gwyn Prins, LSE' and 'Bob Ward, LSE'. Could it be that Newsnight merely forgot to mention this useful bit of information about one of its key witnesses for the defence? What raises suspicions, however, is that that is transpires that Prof. Hulme works at the scandal-hit University of East Anglia (of 'Climategate' notoriety). Maybe Newsnight didn't forget at all. Maybe they chose to 'forget', so as not to tarnish the non-sceptical professor by association. Aha!!


  1. Good spot. You might also listen to Evan Davies's indignant interview of Chris Grayling over the Tories use of dodgy (albeit government supplied) crime data. I don't recall such righteous indignation being used against Gordon Brown or Alistair Darling over their dodgy economic data.

  2. I've got to wade in here on the crime stats.
    I used to post on the B-BBC site about this.
    The figures were always fiddled. I used to do it myself in the early eighties.
    Those on learner detective attachments who were more adroit at the creative accounting of crime detections tended to be the ones who were selected to become full-time detectives.
    Labour have raised it to a new art form.
    In the past it was a divisional DI reporting to his DCS that his team had got a better detection rate than a neighbouring division. The DCS, in turn, liked to report to his Chief Constable that they had a better detection rate than a neighbouring force.
    This kept the civil servants in the Home Office off the back of the CC.
    Talking to colleagues still in, and desperate to escape, it seems that the Home Office have taken over how the figures are massaged.
    Remember recently the spat between the NAO and labour ministers over the falsifying of crime figures.

    Andy C

  3. So the police (throughout the chain of command) are bending the crime figures to look much better than they really are for the sake of their own career advancement, and the Labour government is up to exactly the same thing! That's something I've not heard Mark ('crime is going down under Labour') Easton say, and I doubt I ever will.

    What puzzled me about this morning's spat was that the way the crime figures were calculated changed earlier this decade, and yet the Conservatives were being condemned by Easton and Evan Davis for using pre-2002 figures to compare crime levels now with pre-1997 crime levels (comparing 'apples and oranges' according to Davis), without any explanation being given as to just how you SHOULD compare crime in, say, 2009 with crime in, say, 1994, if the goalposts have been radically changed. I am bemused by it all!

  4. The best one, and forgive me because it was 25 years ago and I can't remember exactly the cirumstances, was the DNC annotation on a crime report. That was Detected/No Crime.
    In a nutshell, add one to the detection figures, subtract one from the recorded crime figures.

    I would add though that many of us were upset by these fiddles, like going in to a prison to interview a criminal about 'other' crimes he 'may' have committed but not tried for.
    A couple of days out with the police who would show the criminal a house, "Did you burgle that one?" Reply "Yes". OK here's another packet of fags and we'll put a good word in for you. The criminal doesn't do any extra time, never goes back into court but has got a load of smokes to trade back in the prison. If he's 'identified' another 30 burglaries, irrespective of who actually committed them then that's another 30 detections. everyone gets a pat on the back and the fags come out of expenses.
    And Labour aren't doing this on a grander scale??

    Andy C

  5. I have always tended to make the point over the years that , if crime is decreasing, what is the reason ?

    Increased detection rates, increased prosecution successes, increased detention, increased rehabilitation , increased prosperity ? Better social harmony ?

    Or are the figures just being fudged ?

    Don't have numbers to hand , but I seem to remember, even on official statistics, the UK crime rate per capita is about twice the US rate and three times the French rate. Maybe they are even better at fiddling numbers !

    Or are the figures and definition of "crime" being fudged ?


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