The prime minister and the Home Office deliberately misrepresented crime figures with misleading claim to have ‘cut crime’, according to the national statistics watchdog. In a press release issued on January 27, the Home Office claimed that ‘ONS crime statistics out today show that crime continues to fall under this Government’. Shortly afterward, Boris Johnson speaking in the House of Commons claimed crime had come down by 14%.
Such claims were contradicted by the Office for National Statistics publication itself, stating that estimates from the Crime Survey for England and Wales for the year ending September 2021 compared with the pre-coronavirus year ending September 2019 revealed ‘a 14% increase in total crime, driven by a 47% increase in fraud and computer misuse’.
Responding to a complaint by the Lib Dem MP Alastair Carmichael over the ‘gross misrepresentation’, UKSA chair Sir David Norgrove said the official statistics ‘quite properly’ included fraud and computer misuse and the PM had excluded them but ‘did not make this clear’. ‘I agree that ONS measures of crime must be used accurately, and not misrepresented,’ Sir David said. ‘In this case, the Home Office news release presented the latest figures in a misleading way.’