Comments for http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/stats_watchdog_barks_back.html http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/stats_watchdog_barks_back.html en-gb 30 Sat 04 Jul 2015 19:26:45 GMT+1 A feed of user comments from the page found at http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/stats_watchdog_barks_back.html _dark_crystal_ http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/stats_watchdog_barks_back.html?page=97#comment43 Here is some solid data, for a change.Effectiveness of policing in England and Singapore: a comparison and an extrapolationEngland and WalesPopulation: 53,390,300Murders in 2009: 648 [data from Mark's blog]Murders per million: 12.1SingaporePopulation: 4,987,600Murders in 2009: 19 [Singapore Police Force data]Murders per million: 3.8How many murders would we have had in England and Wales in 2009 if we had used Singapore's policing style?3.8 x 53.39 = 203 murders, instead of 648.How many murders would Singapore have had in 2009 if Singapore had used the UK's policing style?12.1 x 4.98 = 60 murders, instead of 19.How many innocent lives would have been saved in England and Wales in 2009 by using Singapore's policing style?648 - 203 = 445 innocent lives.Each year, we could save 445 innocent lives by adopting the same style of policing as Singapore.This is what we could save if we had a little less compassion for murderers, and a little more compassion for their victims. Wed 24 Feb 2010 21:04:55 GMT+1 dennisjunior1 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/stats_watchdog_barks_back.html?page=95#comment42 Mark:I am glad, that the Stats watchdog is barking back @ the opposition regarding the claims that are being made in the numbers.NB: I am not a political operative in the United Kingdom.(Dennis Junior) Mon 22 Feb 2010 02:22:36 GMT+1 Fast Neutron http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/stats_watchdog_barks_back.html?page=93#comment41 The point here is not the quality of statistics. That's certainly a topic worthy of debate but it is not the issue here.Our concern here is that Grayling either: used the stats in good faith without understanding their limitations correctly OR used them incorrectly-knowingly and with intent to deceive.What if the people that made your car's air-bag or brakes used one of those methodologies? Or perhaps you'd like your doctor to disregard evidence-based treatment advice next time you're sick...Of course there are thousands of other similar examples.Every day, many honest professionals evaluate and use data to properly support decisions which directly and routinely impact your life. You expect these people to do their job right - so why should we not expect the same level of judgement from our politicians? Grayling made a basic error and then compounded it with his pathetic response to that error. That's the point at issue and that's why he (like any other person who might do this) is not fit for office.Of course that's just my opinion - but now I've got a sample of two recent examples of his poor judgement. So I'm at least basing my opinion on SOME clear evidence. Wed 17 Feb 2010 02:40:03 GMT+1 Apple-Eater http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/stats_watchdog_barks_back.html?page=90#comment40 36 angel"35. Apple-Eater 'Yes - what do they tell YOU?'They tell me what they tell anyone else well versed in demography. If you want me to tell you, in true libertarian tradition, I'd probably have to invoice you."Come along Angel, don't be coy. You're advancing statistics which you don't elaborate on, to advance an argument you don't define.Some more cynical souls might think that you've just realised that you've got a problem with your line of thought.Either way - you're talking about the stats, so it's up to you to say what they are, and make arguments based on them. Mon 15 Feb 2010 14:31:44 GMT+1 Apple-Eater http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/stats_watchdog_barks_back.html?page=88#comment39 38 "Is Mark Easton a Labour supporter? Yes or no?"Maybe - more likely, he's just anti-Tory. He's certainly very selective with what he writes about.The Tories are quite capable of losing an election without Easton's help.But Easton should be directing his fire at other stats and surveys. If he's really so concerned with stats in general and wha they say about the UK and political discourse here, he should be querying - immigration levels, and the discrepancy between Labour's predicted 13,000 and the numbers we've actually got- the effects of immigration on the job market and our environment- the impact on people and their feelings about the UK. Easton gushed about a report saying there was widespread approval of multiculturalism, but now we have ever-rising resentment of immigrants, and falling levels of general contentment.If Easton really wants to query stats, he doesn't need to focus on the Tories. He can focus on Labour, and his very own BBC... Mon 15 Feb 2010 11:56:27 GMT+1 Framer http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/stats_watchdog_barks_back.html?page=86#comment38 You can tell Mark Easton has never been burgled, spending his time fretting over which set of statistics is more accurate.Unsurprisingly, he prefers the one that seems to say crime is diminishing.But the police statistics of recent years are perfectly appropriate to use for comparison purposes. Why bother collating them if they are so meaningless Mark? Sun 14 Feb 2010 17:51:41 GMT+1 Arthur Complainer http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/stats_watchdog_barks_back.html?page=84#comment37 Is Mark Easton a Labour supporter? Yes or no? Fri 12 Feb 2010 22:42:48 GMT+1 busby2 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/stats_watchdog_barks_back.html?page=81#comment36 Iain in Edinburgh #29Thank you for taking the time to reply.I note you agree that "If the stats you quote are accurate (and I have no reason to think that they're not) then I would agree that something looks a bit odd". As you say, they need further investigation and it seems that nobody, least of all Mark Easton who started this blog, seems very much interested in puzzling out the reasons why the stats look odd.You reasonably mentioned the possibility that sentences may be getting longer and that non custodial sentences may be increasingly replaced by custodial sentences. And if this is taking place, is that enough to account for the increase in the prison population?There has been a very significant increase in the numbers of foreign born prisoners who now account for 14% of the prison population. This has taken place at a time of unparalleled increases in immigration, both legal and illegal. The Govt doesn't like to talk about this because they were responsible for opening the floodgates to EE immigration and bogus foreign students and for not putting in safeguards to prevent overstaying or illegal immigration. Judging by the numbers of foreigners locked up for importing drugs, there is good reason to believe supply on the streets has gone up and that users are financing their habit by crime. The Govt also doesn't like to talk about the criminal effects of excessive alcohol consumption or the negative effects of their legislation to liberalise the licensing laws. I wonder why? A recent BBC programme on alcohol induced assaults where the victims were taken to casualty showed only a small percentage of the victims reported the assault to the police, so the crime went unreported. Fri 12 Feb 2010 16:56:56 GMT+1 Statist http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/stats_watchdog_barks_back.html?page=79#comment35 35. Apple-Eater 'Yes - what do they tell YOU?'They tell me what they tell anyone else well versed in demography. If you want me to tell you, in true libertarian tradition, I'd probably have to invoice you. Fri 12 Feb 2010 15:53:58 GMT+1 Apple-Eater http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/stats_watchdog_barks_back.html?page=77#comment34 statist""For example, take a hard, detailed look at the economies of the liberal-democracies. They are not in good shape are they? Have a very close look at the birth-rates of Europe too. Also have a look at the crime rates of the liberal-democracies. "Apple-Eater then says: 'What about them?'It seems you want me to do your work for you. "Yes - what do they tell YOU? You're the one mentioning them, so I'd have thought it was up to you, not me, to say why. Fri 12 Feb 2010 14:41:01 GMT+1 Statist http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/stats_watchdog_barks_back.html?page=75#comment33 33. Apple-Eater citing statist:"For example, take a hard, detailed look at the economies of the liberal-democracies. They are not in good shape are they? Have a very close look at the birth-rates of Europe too. Also have a look at the crime rates of the liberal-democracies. "Apple-Eater then says: 'What about them?'It seems you want me to do your work for you. Are you libertarian (capitalist running-dog)? To reach enlightenment, one has to do some work oneself grasshopper. 'Work sets one free' (so the sign said).Hint: The next thread may point you in the right direction. Fri 12 Feb 2010 14:20:26 GMT+1 Apple-Eater http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/stats_watchdog_barks_back.html?page=72#comment32 statist"For example, take a hard, detailed look at the economies of the liberal-democracies. They are not in good shape are they? Have a very close look at the birth-rates of Europe too. Also have a look at the crime rates of the liberal-demcoracies. "What about them? "I'm not sure the Chinese would let many Europeans in, are you?"That's hypothetical. Just like the USSR and Cuba, no one wants to go there, whereas people from there go to extreme lengths to get out."As to adopting their system here, well, there's lots of persuasive education/propaganda at work to make that very unlikely, regardless of how many would live happier, more stable and biologically fruitful lives, if it was"Well, how about you putting China's attitudes to Europeans to the test and going there? See whether it really is so good.You are saying that China is better than here, aren't you? And are you old enough to have been around when the USSR and soviet bloc were alive and kicking? If so, did you try and leave the west to go and live there? if not, why not? And why do you think East Germans got shot trying to get out of the DDR, whereas the Federal Republic didn't have the same trouble keeping its citizens in the country? Fri 12 Feb 2010 14:09:50 GMT+1 Statist http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/stats_watchdog_barks_back.html?page=70#comment31 31. Apple-Eater 'I don't see you actually producing evidence of the system you advocate working, in producing socieities that people wish to live in.'With all due respect, perhaps you aren't looking hard enough?For example, take a hard, detailed look at the economies of the liberal-democracies. They are not in good shape are they? Have a very close look at the birth-rates of Europe too. Also have a look at the crime rates of the liberal-demcoracies. I'm not sure the Chinese would let many Europeans in, are you? As to adopting their system here, well, there's lots of persuasive education/propaganda at work to make that very unlikely, regardless of how many would live happier, more stable and biologically fruitful lives, if it was. The reality is that that sort of system is not good for those who do well out of liberal-democracy, so for some, you are quite right. It comes down to whether one is an individualist or a socialist I guess. Ultimately it comes down to whether one is out for what one can get via exercising one's human rights, vs caring for others out of duty. That balance appears to have flipped over the past generation (30 years) or so. That flip will cost. In fact, it is costing now according to the birth-rate figures. Look for yourself. Fri 12 Feb 2010 13:48:18 GMT+1 Apple-Eater http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/stats_watchdog_barks_back.html?page=68#comment30 Statist"It's no so much a personal preference as an observation of what seems to work. May I refer you the People's Republic of China (still Stalinist believe it or not, and now a major holder of Western debt). This broke with the USSR after 1953 specifically on the grounds that the latter was going to soft on Stalinism. I recall someone once posted something from (of all people) the Austrian School which pointed out (I think it was Ludwig Von Mises or George Reisman) that what Germany tried to implement, and what Stalin actually implemented, was essentially the same system (which explains why they were allies, though leaves some other things still unexplained...). Actually, I'm not entirely sure that our old UK Civil Service (of the distant past mind) was that far removed (for some long term strategies and no doubt hard to believe shenanigans, see Golitsyn and Angleton). One thing we should agree on is that economic power is moving East, and that's Stalinist power too (the USSR had its NEP too you know)."Well you do seem to acknowledge the similarities between the Third Reich and the USSR - that's something everyone on the far left, and everyone who regards autocracy and and the all-powerful state should acknowledge. As for economic power moving east, it no doubt is, in a way. So what?Fact is, the western model is the way most people want to live, because of the rights and freedoms, and standard of living, people here enjoy. China will remain a place people struggle to leave rather than rush to, because it is a not very benign dictatorship.I don't see you actually producing evidence of the system you advocate working, in producing socieities that people wish to live in. Fri 12 Feb 2010 13:23:01 GMT+1 Statist http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/stats_watchdog_barks_back.html?page=65#comment29 26. 'Interesting, though fundamentally flawed, analysis. The problem is that the kind of society you seem to prefer just doesn't work. It was tried - USSR, the Third Reich etc. Not massively successful.'It's no so much a personal preference as an observation of what seems to work. May I refer you the People's Republic of China (still Stalinist believe it or not, and now a major holder of Western debt). This broke with the USSR after 1953 specifically on the grounds that the latter was going to soft on Stalinism. I recall someone once posted something from (of all people) the Austrian School which pointed out (I think it was Ludwig Von Mises or George Reisman) that what Germany tried to implement, and what Stalin actually implemented, was essentially the same system (which explains why they were allies, though leaves some other things still unexplained...). Actually, I'm not entirely sure that our old UK Civil Service (of the distant past mind) was that far removed (for some long term strategies and no doubt hard to believe shenanigans, see Golitsyn and Angleton). One thing we should agree on is that economic power is moving East, and that's Stalinist power too (the USSR had its NEP too you know).It's easier to bring a building etc down, than build one you know.....We live in wreckers' times. Fri 12 Feb 2010 12:52:11 GMT+1 Iain in Edinburgh http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/stats_watchdog_barks_back.html?page=63#comment28 busby2 #23I'm not avoiding the question, but what I have to say is: I wouldn't know without looking at the data and the modes of collection. It's all too easy to pronounce on statistics (as politicians and journalists are all too prone to doing) without really thinking about what you're saying.If the stats you quote are accurate (and I have no reason to think that they're not) then I would agree that something looks a bit odd, and if I was tasked with assessing the situation I would have a hard look at some of the definitions being used. However, in principle there is no reason why the three stats you mention might not all be accurate. Crime falling can coincide with a stricter sentencing policy which leads to the prison population rising (in fact, the conservatives amongst us might see this as effect and cause!) At the same time the police might be doing a worse job on clearing up other crimes. I'd look at the rates for non-custodial sentencing, to see if these have fallen significantly over the period as well. If they haven't, I'd know there was something fishy going on.Sorry to give such a waffly answer, but my main point is that looking at data is not trivial. ONS interpretations do involve a lot of thought and care, and they are genuinely trying to maintain an independence from government. In general, they are to be trusted. Politicians on the other hand... take what they say with a big pinch of salt... Fri 12 Feb 2010 12:23:01 GMT+1 elfrieda http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/stats_watchdog_barks_back.html?page=61#comment27 It would be wonderful if all the mp`s of all parties , told it as it is , but you can see their minds working finding the most elusive words to use , never just yes or no ," its always let me tell you " and then drivel . i.e how many illegal immigrants are there in the country. who are mp`s loyal to ? its not the people who voted them in, thats for sure. Fri 12 Feb 2010 12:12:40 GMT+1 Apple-Eater http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/stats_watchdog_barks_back.html?page=59#comment26 19 Bluntjeremy"Mark - you appear to be pursuing an anti-Tory vendetta. How many blogs on this topic is this now? You're obsessed. How about a couple of Labour statistics?- 45 minutes for Saddam to launch weapons of mass destruction against the U.K. - 13,000 eastern European immigrants expected post enlargement"Interesting point. Mr Easton, and the BBC in general, seem to have a thing about the Tories. Admittedly, the Tories are an easy target. They do seem a bit useless. But Labour is in power, and has been mincing stats since 97. Without going into too much detail, it is clear that Labour can produce stats to 'prove' that health, education, law and order and the economy are doing fine, when most people can see that this is anything but true.And then there are the LibDems, who get a remarkably easy ride from BBC interviewers, pretty much along the lines of 'anything else you'd care to tell us, sir?'If Mark Easton is really so interested in querying statistics, he could start with a - the number of immigrants in this country, legally and otherwiseb - that '13,000' claim, which was about as truthful as the 45 minutesc - the supposedly beneficial effet of immigration on the economy (the BBC used to speak a lot about that, but has gone remarkably quiet now that unemployment is rising, and immigrants are still taking jobs and absorbing services)d - the effect of immigration on boosting our population levels, and the effect of that on the urban sprawl planned by the LibLabCon govt and councilse - that poll that he, Mark Easton, was gushing about around the time of the last election, purporting to prove widespread support for multiculturalism. Again, the BBC and he went quiet on that one when doubts were cast, and the BNP seems to have gained ground in the meantime.In short, if Easton is looking for stats and policies to query, he doesn't need to focus his attention quite so exclusively on the Tories. I thought the BBC journalists were supposed to be fearless in their pursuit of the truth, ruthless in exposing failed policies.Odd that it is so unwilling to discuss the immigration and multiculturalism it so vocally supported in the past.Equally odd that it focusses so much on the Tories. Some might regard that as partisan - it's also a waste of time - the Tories are more than capable of losing an election without the BBC's help. Fri 12 Feb 2010 11:33:25 GMT+1 Apple-Eater http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/stats_watchdog_barks_back.html?page=56#comment25 Statist 14"It's simple. People in the liberal-democracies are brain-washed to embrace individualism, i.e break up their own families, states etc. It's good for predatory (largely multinational) businesses which target lone consumers. It's divide and conquer. It's what all this anti-nationalism and equalities legislation is in aid of. Politicians don't do much in the democracies, had you not noticed. They have sold off the state they were once accountable to the electorate for. Now they do nothing except spin and hold sinecures whilst making money."Interesting, though fundamentally flawed, analysis. The problem is that the kind of society you seem to prefer just doesn't work. It was tried - USSR, the Third Reich etc. Not massively successful.And our government is nothing if not interventionist.No, the problem with the UK isn't that the system is fundamentally wrong, it's that it's very poorly run. On paper, we're not so different from Holland and the Nordic countries - in reality we are, because our politicians, public sector and many of our business people really aren't very good at their jobs, or are much more concerned with their own interests rather than doing their jobs effectively. Fri 12 Feb 2010 10:28:46 GMT+1 Statist http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/stats_watchdog_barks_back.html?page=54#comment24 24. LippyLippo 'Oh what a tangled web we weave. Would the truth really hurt more than all this fabrication and spin?'Yup.... but the true horror would be if all of this reflected not deception per se, but a genuine fall in national ability at the constitutional level, i.e that the collective resources to see what's wrong are really draining away, or not being reproduced, through unrecognised changes to the population.An excessive concern for looking good - isn't there a technical term for that? Is this equally/randomly distributed across humans and their groups? What was the most salient news item yesterday, the problems of the Greek economy or the suicide of a fashion designer? The media - it's a barometer. Fri 12 Feb 2010 10:11:38 GMT+1 LippyLippo http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/stats_watchdog_barks_back.html?page=52#comment23 Crime stats are a bit like education stats. We're told that the exam pass rate is rising all the time, so much so that they need to have a new A* grade for the genius children of today. But as an ex-teacher and employer, I can tell you (and so can anyone else) that the children coming off the education production line today are completely unemployable. It's no surprise that youth unemployment is so high, even accounting for a recession. We even allow immigrants in to fill the jobs that our kids should be doing because even a Polish guy straight off the bus, who can barely speak English, is ten times better than an English kid with handfuls of GCSE A grades. It suits everybody to kid themselves that the education system is just fine. Kids love getting A grades, schools just want to get themselves up the league tables, and politicians can use this as evidence that they're getting it right. Everyone's a winner. Until they leave school and find out the truth. So what do our esteemed MPs do to combat this? Answer: Don't leave school and find out! Go to university instead! Keep going until you've got a 1st class degree and shedloads of debt, and are equally unemployable. Otherwise, turn to crime or benefits. Great job guys!Now comes crime. We will be told by Govt that crime is falling despite all evidence to the contrary, simply because it suits everybody to believe it. Police look good, MPs look good, and the media get to sell loads of papers to the public who don't believe it and have to turn to media organisations for their daily dose of horror. Oh what a tangled web we weave. Would the truth really hurt more than all this fabrication and spin? Fri 12 Feb 2010 09:19:15 GMT+1 busby2 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/stats_watchdog_barks_back.html?page=50#comment22 Iain in Edinburgh #21As a statistician, how would you explain the Home Secretary's claim in January 2010 that overall offences had fallen by 36% since 1997 and that reoffending rates had fallen with the facts that (A) the prison population had risen over 36% in the same period and (B) crime clear up rates had also fallen since 1997.Whilst we can all have views on whether crime statistics reflect reality, we can be certian that the prison population has risen sharply since this Govt took office. Now if judges were, on average, giving everyone longer sentences, just how much longer would they have to be to account for a 36% rise in the prison population if overall crime rates had fallen by 36%?Busby2 Fri 12 Feb 2010 01:01:04 GMT+1 DebtJuggler http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/stats_watchdog_barks_back.html?page=47#comment21 #20 Statist wrote:"Look what happened when one tried to do his job recently (or when he woke up to what was going on)."Professor David Nutt?Science in the UK is currently a joke!....who won Celebrity Big Bro....btw.That's far more important to the free-market anarchists!...since when did scientists help $ell frock$? Thu 11 Feb 2010 23:42:06 GMT+1 Iain in Edinburgh http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/stats_watchdog_barks_back.html?page=45#comment20 Mark has missed a trick. What the Home Office said in Chris Grayling's 2nd and 3rd examples is much more justifiable than what the Tories had said. In both of these cases, the bias runs against the point which the author is making. There is a reasonable consensus that the effect of the 2002 change was to increase the number of reported crimes. So comparisons of later figures (inflated upwards) with old figures (calculated on a lower basis) have validity if the trend which you are identifying is downwards, since if the statistical base had never been changed, the latest figures would be even smaller. Basically, the change in stats will have made your reported effect smaller. If there's still something to shout about, then you're in luck. By contrast, reporting a change where the bias runs in the direction in which you are interested is not acceptable, since you can never tell how much of your reported change is spurious. Yes, I am a statistician; no, I don't work for ONS. But I have lectured to the government statisticians on statistical ethics and professionalism, and I am pleased to say that I do think the Stats Authority is taking its responsibilities seriously. Thu 11 Feb 2010 22:28:10 GMT+1 Statist http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/stats_watchdog_barks_back.html?page=43#comment19 I take it the wiser readers/contributors here all know that so called 'watchdogs' under this, (and the previous Conservative) government, have all proven toothless. Those who don't know this should begin to ask why. What function might toothless watchdogs serve in liberal-democracies where dregulation is the driving agenda? How would it help to not have very diligent scientists in command? Note how titles are now two a penny? Look what happened when one tried to do his job recently (or when he woke up to what was going on).Please don't ask why someone in government doesn't do something about all of this, just look up 'libertarian'. Thu 11 Feb 2010 20:36:16 GMT+1 bluntjeremy http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/stats_watchdog_barks_back.html?page=40#comment18 Mark - you appear to be pursuing an anti-Tory vendetta. How many blogs on this topic is this now? You're obsessed. How about a couple of Labour statistics?- 45 minutes for Saddam to launch weapons of mass destruction against the U.K. - 13,000 eastern European immigrants expected post enlargementWhere's your highly critical blog on these?The Tories have every right to analyse official statistics to highlight what they believe supports their case for change. If the basis of the statistics has changed so as to make them incomparable, the Office for National Statistics should not be showing the data. Sounds to me like they're misleading everybody.Secondly, why did Labour change the basis of the data? Pretty fishy!Thirdly, Labour themselves twist statistics frequently. For example, the statement that 'unemployment has risen by less than during previous recessions.' Whilst 'technically' correct, this ignores that fact that Labour have pushed hundreds of thousands of people into education or training so as to avoid counting them as 'unemployed' and they've massively increased the number of people on sickness benefit at great cost to all of us, again to achieve the same result. If you look at the number of people of working age classed as economically inactive, the true underlying figure for those not in employment is very very much higher. So much for lies, damn lies and statistics. Also, can you please blog on what Labour's 'social objectives' were in respect of allowing masses of immigrants into the U.K.? To make us all foreigners in our own country? P.S. Could you also disclose how you voted at the last General Election? We readers need to judge your independence fairly. Having checked through your past 6 months' of blogs, I couldn't find anything genuinely critical of Labour. Can you correct me? Otherwise begins to look like bias. Thanks. Thu 11 Feb 2010 18:31:45 GMT+1 Statist http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/stats_watchdog_barks_back.html?page=38#comment17 Hint: begin with 'referential opacity'. Thu 11 Feb 2010 18:09:02 GMT+1 Statist http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/stats_watchdog_barks_back.html?page=36#comment16 16. jon112uk 'If the increase is purely due to the way the figures are collected, why does your graph show a steady slope increase over several years?'The 'procedural change' line was just a convenient ploy to play down the recorded figures and encourage naive, trusting people who know no science or history to look at the BCS opinion driven figures instead. The latter are more convenient to New Labour. If anyone listened to Jack Straw at the Iraq Inquiry, they would have heard him press the point about interpretation over and over again, and how perception and reality are almost indiscernible (to New Labour).It's all sleight of hand. Opacity. It's why they talk of transparency all the time. Try to find out where the term transparency really originated......when, and why. You'll need to go back to the early/mid 90s. Thu 11 Feb 2010 18:00:41 GMT+1 jon112dk http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/stats_watchdog_barks_back.html?page=34#comment15 Don't have an axe to grind on this one - I don't really believe any figures from the police. I know they lie. But...If the increase is purely due to the way the figures are collected, why does your graph show a steady slope increase over several years? If the rule change occured in one year, should there not be a sudden 'step' increase at the year when the change occured? Thu 11 Feb 2010 16:48:53 GMT+1 kaybraes http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/stats_watchdog_barks_back.html?page=31#comment14 All this rubbish about different ways of arriving at figures is a smokescreen to disguise the fact that the government and the statiticians are dishonest. Either the figures are accurate or they are wrong. How they are arrived at is irrelevant; how difficult is it to count crimes ? Simple arithmetic it's called ; you count, as in 1, 2, 3, at the end you have the figures. Nowadays when government and every police force is computerised it is even easier , the figures are on tap. Any argument to the contrary is dishonest and those who use this argument are dishonest. Thu 11 Feb 2010 15:26:38 GMT+1 Statist http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/stats_watchdog_barks_back.html?page=29#comment13 13. 'It is odd that the Establishment, in effect, the LibLabCon, have conspired to create a society which is almost doomed to have high criminality.'Not really. Not if you understand the hands-off (deregulation) nature of liberal-democracy. It's good for business. The 'cost' is rising crime and disorder. The two go together. The socialist ('authoritarian/totalitarian') countries know this. It's why they fight to keep neoliberalism out. It's why they refer to it as Satanic.It's simple. People in the liberal-democracies are brain-washed to embrace individualism, i.e break up their own families, states etc. It's good for predatory (largely multinational) businesses which target lone consumers. It's divide and conquer. It's what all this anti-nationalism and equalities legislation is in aid of. Politicians don't do much in the democracies, had you not noticed. They have sold off the state they were once accountable to the electorate for. Now they do nothing except spin and hold sinecures whilst making money. Thu 11 Feb 2010 14:30:15 GMT+1 Apple-Eater http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/stats_watchdog_barks_back.html?page=27#comment12 11 Statist"The prison population has been growing, A&E figures corroborate rise sin violence, and most important of all, the demographics of the UK population have been changing (birth-rate differntials and high low skilled immigration) since the end of WWII and especially fast over the past decade or so, and we know what the contingencies are, i.e. we know what drives up offending behaviour, the problem is whether one can do anything about it in liberal-democracies. The Conservatives are as bad as New Labpur (and the Lib-Dems) on this. "It is odd that the Establishment, in effect, the LibLabCon, have conspired to create a society which is almost doomed to have high criminality.Low education levels, high levels of family breakdown, teenage pregnancy, benefits dependency, big income inequality...And most people can see and feel that crime is prevalent, and the police and judiciary utterly ineffective.Yet still, politicians and others manage to kid themselves that there isn't really a problem.The big problems are that work doesn't pay, benefits dependency does, and the police and judiciary are useless.Things aren't as bad as the sceaming headlines in some of the media would have us believe, but they are bad, and if we carry on as we are, with high levels of single parent families, teeny pregnancies, mass immigration, and useless policing, they will get a lot worse. Thu 11 Feb 2010 13:45:33 GMT+1 Statist http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/stats_watchdog_barks_back.html?page=25#comment11 Some harsh realism on freedom and liberal values (compare with the 'oppressive' socialist state in the East):'According to figures compiled by the International Center for Prison Studies, with less than 5 percent of the world’s population, the U.S. has almost a quarter of the world’s prisoners. Now that’s over-achieving if I’ve ever seen it.We hold 2.3 million people behind bars, far more than any other country in the world. China, with four times our population, is a distant second in prisoners, with a mere 1.6 million. And our prison population is growing, so nobody’ll ever catch us.Our country is also proudly first in incarceration rates, with over 750 people in jail for every 100,000 in population. England’s rate is a lackluster 150 incarcerations per 100,000; Germany’s a measly 88; Japan’s a puny 63. Obviously, the rest of the world just isn’t trying.'Ludingdon Daily Nws USA 10 Feb 2010UN of crimeScotland boomingA&E trends.You can bet that most of the people doing this aren't the sharpest tools in the box on any ability scale. Why do we have so many? Thu 11 Feb 2010 12:29:32 GMT+1 Statist http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/stats_watchdog_barks_back.html?page=22#comment10 9. keepitsimple 'I think we are in agreement - but the fact is peoples' views of what is happening, perceptions and worries also matter not just their actual experience of crime'Far less than you appear to appreciate. Evidence Based/Driven Practice eschews perception based material (as it should, think engineering and medicine). People's opinions or perceptions matter to politicians simply because most people are not up to (educable enough) to handle data and politicians are aftre votes. That's not me being unkind or 'patronizing' it's just a statistical fact and point of politics. This is why Howard was advised (by experienced Civil Servants and their specialist technical internal advisors) that rising crime was not something he could do anything about, and that all he could do was manage public 'expectations' (perceptions). The prison population has been growing, A&E figures corroborate rise sin violence, and most important of all, the demographics of the UK population have been changing (birth-rate differntials and high low skilled immigration) since the end of WWII and especially fast over the past decade or so, and we know what the contingencies are, i.e. we know what drives up offending behaviour, the problem is whether one can do anything about it in liberal-democracies. The Conservatives are as bad as New Labpur (and the Lib-Dems) on this. Please take these points on board, as I'm just trying to be helpful. Public perception/expectation management is another word for PR and spin. It's anathema to science, but has sadly infiltrated our universities and helping professions through hyperinflation of HE. Think of human perception as highly error prone behaviour.Dig out the 100 years of crime data, and note, it's rate of crime, population growth per se is largely irrelevant, it's how the birth-rate/fertility has changed differentially, i.e through more births amongst those more at risk criminogenically. Think of how UK (and US) society has changed with respect to work and family life over decades.... Thu 11 Feb 2010 12:01:27 GMT+1 Apple-Eater http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/stats_watchdog_barks_back.html?page=20#comment9 The Tories clearly have problems. Given the justifiable discontent with Labour, the Tories should be steaming ahead in the polls, but they're not, because they keep making mistakes.But I do wonder why their mistakes, real or imagined, get flagged up quite so intensely by Mr Easton. He could have a pop at the government, and he could certainly have a go at the LibDems, who seem to get a very easy ride from the BBC.Their policies on immigration and Europe are so out of step with public opinion that they contribute to their being stuck in third place. And they are full of contradictions.In my area, the local LibDems are opposing housing development - fair enough, but they support the immigration that leads to the population boom that provides the pretext for the housing. In short, they are criticising the consequences of their own policy.Given the disastrous effect of immigration on communities, the environment, crime and the economy, and the LibDems' two-faced attitude to it - supporting it, but criticising its consequences - I'd have thought Mr Easton might want to have a pop at them, too. Thu 11 Feb 2010 11:29:59 GMT+1 keepitsimple http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/stats_watchdog_barks_back.html?page=18#comment8 #7 statist I think we are in agreement - but the fact is peoples' views of what is happening, perceptions and worries also matter not just their actual experience of crime - and politicians rightly listen to those views as well. Nobody tells politicians to ignore opinion polls or other samples such as the folk they meet through constituency surgeries and they would be foolish to do so.there is both qualitative and quantitative evidence and both are valid. BCS does not report just views it collects experiences as well, and if somebody reports in confidence to an interviewer that they have been the victim of a burglary on the whole we should believe them. There is substantive evidence on accuracy of individuals reports through surveys Police recorded crime is a much more limited and self-selected sample than BCS but it remains a sample contrary to anybody's assertion that it is some sort of 'fact' whereas survey results are not - a totally unscientific view. Police recorded crime is a sample of all crime- the fraction of crimes where individuals choose to report - but equally will cover some crimes that cant be captured well by survey methods - which also have their weaknesses. Police recorded crime will be good at capturing the most serious crimes, and at capturing other crimes where individuals have an inccentive to report (eg if needed for insurance purposes) but will not be good for many other crimes. Until the population is persuaded to report all crimes to the police [perhaps via new technology as you say] sampling enables the capture at least some of the large volumes not identified in the criminal justice system. Arguably there are however many crimes which are best dealt with informally and not via formal reporting to the police eg more minor playground scuffles.What can be deduced from the long term rise in police recorded crime and trends in sentencing and the make-up of the prison population (and the numbers on community sentence), aside from population growth, is that the criminal justice system has been identifying and dealing with either higher numbers of the most serious and violent and sexual crimes or applying longer sentences to these, or both [in practice a combination]. If you read through the white papers of successive govt of both parties over the decades you will understand this is a deliberate policy of govt and has been intended to address the very concerns you have over the rise of the worst crimes such as drug offences, murder, sexual crimes and so on. It does not mean all crime has risen - in fact some crimes will have fallen other new ones risen reflecting technology [eg mobile phones thefts, much higher volumes of cars - motoring offences are one of the biggest groups]. It is pretty hard to justify comparison with 100 years ago - before WWI in fact - when the nation's wealth, expectations, population and way of life was entirely different - had the population and number of cars as been as large then as now, we would likely have had just as many motoring offences but probably more because people were less aware of the dangers to themselves and others of dangerous driving and there were no safety belts.The interesting point is that like E&W, since the 1990s crime rates appear to have fallen internationally in many other countries, whichever measures are used. The BCS shows there are far more victims and far more crimes committed that the police ever get told about and this is a well established and uncontroversial fact, no more controversial than that the world is not flat. You may argue recent year's falls are a blip in the historical context but they are shown by both BCS and police recorded crime as well as other international figures, and they do offer politicians and the police some reason to hope that all the efforts they make to address particular types of crime might just be working...or do you believe a rise in crime is inevitable despite the best efforts of the police and others, and that no matter what both the BCS and the police recorded crime figures say, things must always be getting worse than they were...it is a somewhat pessimistic outlook. Thu 11 Feb 2010 10:55:44 GMT+1 FedupwithGovt http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/stats_watchdog_barks_back.html?page=15#comment7 Hmmmm! And politicians wonder why we don't have any respect or regard for them. Thu 11 Feb 2010 10:49:08 GMT+1 Statist http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/stats_watchdog_barks_back.html?page=13#comment6 The UK Statistics Authority is too new a creation to judge yet, and I for one hope it proves it is up to the task. However, as Scholar says, these comparisons are all about the periods which led to the creation of the UKSA!I repeat: 1) Anyone who puts more store by limited sampling (in the past under 50,000) of people's views over the recording of what the police, courts and NOMS process, knows next to nothing about criminology or science, and is just playing politics. Sampling used to be the only way because of the absence of cost effective alternatives. That has changed since the 90s via cheap computerisation.2) Grayling, Scholar and Easton should all look at the Home Office records of the crime rate over the past 100 years, specifically since the end of WWII. A graph will do. The data can be obtained from an RDS published report.See last post to previous blog (and earlier) for more, especilly about looking after 'children', their records and peak-crime.Sometimes commentators know more than the alleged 'experts'. Thu 11 Feb 2010 09:48:27 GMT+1 keepitsimple http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/stats_watchdog_barks_back.html?page=11#comment5 #3 watriler - you are right that people judge risk poorly and worryactually the BCS does measure not just people experience of crime but also their perception of whether crime rising/flat/falling in their local area [most indicate falling] and nationally [most indicate rising] and also fear of crime see http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/bcs1.html"The survey also looks at people’s attitudes to crime, such as how much they fear crime and what measures they take to avoid it."The survey also measures the impact of fear of crime on quality of life [table 5.01, 5.02 in [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator] ] as well as proprtions with high levels of worry about crime and perceived risk of being a victim vs actual risk [body of chapter 5 in same report]the policy implications are not so much about not getting crime to fall but also recognising the need to address public fears too ie getting folk to worry less but using that concern to motivate folk to take preventitve measures to the extent they are able so that it then doesnt affect quality of life unduly...few aspects of life are entirely risk free..and to find out what reassures them or helps them most effectively, whether it is better street lighting, more cctv, more bobbies on the beat or whatever, and so they can vote for whichever politician promises what they want Thu 11 Feb 2010 01:52:31 GMT+1 keepitsimple http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/stats_watchdog_barks_back.html?page=9#comment4 Why is Chris Grayling using Commons stationery to answer questions about party political business [information sent to local constituency parties as part of election campaigning] - isnt that against the rules?it is not surprising that chris grayling has attempted to justify his original position by saying others used the figures in the same way - he could hardly do otherwise.nor that UK SA adopt a more conciliatory tone given they wish to be 'non-political' yet have already in one way dented chris grayling's reputation - whilst it will not be damaged as such either in parliament or in david cameron's eyes by one lapse on use of figures, he cannot afford too many other lapses before an election if he is to maintain a reputation as a sufficiently safe pair of hands for Home Office which is one of the highest profile and poltically sensitive Depts.what is perhaps more worrying is that UK SA has chosen not to defend the British Crime Survey which chris grayling described as 'fundamentally flawed' and just an 'opinion survey' even tho it reported only in December that it is "essential":-see http://www.statisticsauthority.gov.uk/assessment/monitoring-reports/index.html Overcoming barriers to trust in crime statistics - interim report"The existence of two major data sources (police recorded crime figures and the British Crime Survey). Both sources are essential to create a full picture, but their different strengths and weaknesses lead, on occasions, to a degree of public and political confusion and present an opportunity for selective and misleading quotation and reporting." Has UK SA changed its views on the importance and need for the BCS, or has UK SA sought to change Chris Grayling's mind on it or simply plan to do so should he reach office, or does it believe he was merely blustering some hot air in defence of his original use of recorded crime figures? Maybe you should ask around Mark and let us know what you can reveal Thu 11 Feb 2010 01:20:15 GMT+1 David Lilley http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/stats_watchdog_barks_back.html?page=6#comment3 Great work Mark,David Cameron should sack him immediately. He is pleading that "two wrongs make a right". He is saying publically that he is wrong but it is OK because others have done the same thing.He clearly doesn't understand "right from wrong" and can have no authorative voice on the matter of "right and wrong". How did David Cameron allow him to write such a letter? How did he dare to write such a letter? If David Cameron does not publically intervein and dismiss this imbecile then he will leave an ugly shadow over the Conservative election campaign which must, repeat must, be successful.No idiots here please. Thu 11 Feb 2010 00:19:14 GMT+1 watriler http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/stats_watchdog_barks_back.html?page=4#comment2 Chris, stop digging before the wall falls in on you. The Tories seem unable to think through their attempts to score points over a dying government. They will be snatching a draw from the jaws of victory. Perhaps the LD's will shine through this time.For most people it is their perception of the risks of being subject to a personal crime that really matters. This can have a crippling effect on peoples' lives and yet it is not covered by the BCS - when you go shopping how worried are you that you might be attacked? There is a parallel anxiety affecting people in their expectation of acquiring a terminal disease. Wed 10 Feb 2010 22:59:32 GMT+1 Andy http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/stats_watchdog_barks_back.html?page=2#comment1 He is wrong: it's black and white, not party political. He simply needs to admit it.Of course politicians bend the truth - we all do it. But Grayling has gone too far. His problem is not that he wanted to spin the numbers, but that he tried to pull a fast one and got caught out for not doing his homework. Come clean! It's not like he couldn't search out some equally damning statistics elsewhere - has he looked into sharp instrument assaults lately? Wed 10 Feb 2010 20:19:08 GMT+1 ghostofsichuan http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/stats_watchdog_barks_back.html?page=0#comment0 Figures don't lie but liars figure. They would much rather discuss the numbers than talk about how to deal with crime....not white-collar crime, not what the bankers did, but rather the crime that impacts the local people....oh, that is right the banks stole from them too. Everybody is against crime and poverty and for education and all the thingsthey talk about for election, even though with all the years of promises nothing every changes but the costs. Wed 10 Feb 2010 17:15:57 GMT+1