A new report reveals how police have managed to achieve their greatest feat yet: making crime disappear. Or more accurately, making the reports of crime disappear.

And just where have all these allegations come from? The police themselves.

Police officers told a Commons committee that crime reports of ‘burglary’ were routinely made to vanish, alongside reports of sex crimes, robbery and child abuse.

The claims were made at a hearing of Parliament’s Public Administration Committee.
Chairman Bernard Jenkin said he was ‘shocked’ by the evidence.

“What we have heard is how there is a system of incentives in the police that has become inherently corrupting”, he said.

Officers claim they are under pressure to record crimes as less controversial offences or even no crime at all.

Pc James Patrick, analyses crime figures for the Met. He is facing disciplinary actions for effectively whistleblowing, after he wrote a blog about the impact of police reform.

He explained how said an internal audit found that ‘as many as 300 burglaries’ vanished from official figures in just a few weeks.

“Burglary is an area where crimes are downgraded or moved into other brackets, such as criminal damage for attempted burglaries.

Things were being reported as burglaries and you would then re-run the same report after there had been a human intervention, a management intervention, and these burglaries effectively disappeared in a puff of smoke.”

Shockingly, in 80 per cent of cases where an allegation of a serious sexual offence had been recorded as ‘no crime’, the label was incorrect.

Numerous other cases were incorrectly recorded as ‘crime-related incidents’, a category covering allegations made by third parties but not directly confirmed by the supposed victims.

But the litany of corruption was not limited to massaging the figures, according to Patrick. He also revealed how vulnerable victims of crimes were also bullied into dropping allegations or subjected to aggressive questioning designed to paint them as a liar.

He was supported by Peter Barron, a former Detective Chief Superintendent at the Met, who said victims are ‘harassed’ into scaling down the seriousness of incidents.

They would be telephoned and repeatedly questioned on the circumstances of the crime.

“Victims were putting the phone down in disgust, harassed by another call from someone trying to persuade them that they were mistaken about the level of force used,” he added.

Mr Barron said the Met had been set a target of reducing crimes in several priority areas by 20 per cent: “That translates into ‘record 20 per cent fewer crimes’ as far as senior officers are concerned.”

Of course, one has to ask where the introduction of performance policies and the pressure to reduce crime figures (not crime itself) comes from.

The government. It seems as though the police are their willing collaborators who rather than deal with crime itself, prefer to instead make the embarrassing figures disappear, as if by magic.

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