Thursday, November 21, 2013
How violent crimes 'are made to vanish like a puff of smoke': Police chiefs tell MPs that stats are routinely fiddled
British crime statistics have long rivalled Stalin's production statistics for mendacity but we are beginning to get admissions of it
Crime figures are routinely massaged by police desperate to show that they are making the streets safer, it was claimed yesterday.
Serious offences including rape, child sex abuse, robberies and burglary are disappearing in a ‘puff of smoke’, MPs were told.
Police are accused of downgrading crimes to less serious offences and even erasing them altogether by labelling them as accidents or errors.
One police analyst claimed that hundreds of burglaries ‘disappeared’ in a matter of weeks at the Met after managers intervened.
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, who analyses crime figures for the Met, said he found robberies being logged as ‘theft snatch’ in order to get them ‘off the books’.
The officer, who faces disciplinary proceedings for gross misconduct after writing a blog about the impact of police reform, said burglary figures were also changed. ‘Burglary is an area where crimes are downgraded or moved into other brackets, such as criminal damage for attempted burglaries,’ he said.
Pc Patrick said an internal audit found that ‘as many as 300 burglaries’ vanished from official figures in just a few weeks.
‘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,’ he said.
He claimed that in 80 per cent of cases where an allegation of a serious sexual offence had been recorded as ‘no crime’, the label was incorrect.
Pc Patrick also said 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.
He said pressure was put on victims to drop crimes by ‘attacking the allegation’ instead of investigating the crime.
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,’ he said.
The Met said it has appointed a ‘force crime registrar’ to rule on disputed crimes and to ensure the correct policies are followed.
Labour and its 'ethical' bank are as morally bankrupt as each other
The praise could hardly have been more lavish, the tribute more generous.
In an address to the Co-operative Bank in July 2012, the Labour leader Ed Miliband hailed the organisation as a shining example to the rest of the financial sector because it had ‘always understood that the ethics of responsibility, co-operation and stewardship must be at the heart of what you do’.
How laughable those words sound today, as the Co-op finds itself embroiled in scandal and crisis.
Already weighed down by a £1.5 billion black hole in its finances, the bank is struggling to cope with revelations that its former chairman, Methodist minister Paul Flowers, is a serial drug user.
His depraved behaviour makes a mockery of the Co-op’s self-righteous cant about its high moral standards.
Having allowed someone so plainly unbalanced and incompetent to take the helm, the bank is exposed as just as big a hypocrite as the cocaine-snorting reverend himself.
But this latest episode is not just a disaster for the Co-operative Bank. It is also a massive blow to the Labour Party, which for decades has had an intensely symbiotic relationship with the Co-op movement.
The link is one of mutual dependency, and is reflected in Labour’s finances, structure and ideology. The truth is Miliband’s party is effectively bank-rolled by the Co-op on an epic scale, while the Co-op movement gains political influence at the heart of Westminster.
This relationship explains why Paul Flowers was able to become the bank’s chairman.
Here was a man with absolutely no financial experience — beyond working at NatWest for four years in his late teens and early 20s in the Sixties — and, we now learn, a prodigious appetite for drugs.
Yet he was also a well-connected, long-serving Labour councillor, having been elected first in Rochdale and then sitting for ten years on Bradford City Council.
In the Co-operative movement, Flowers’ political affiliations counted for more than any banking expertise.
Miliband appointed him to Labour’s finance and industry group in 2010. Last year, the Labour leader even held private talks with Flowers at his office in the Commons.
It is the same flawed politics and association with Labour that has landed the bank in its current mess.
A major part of the Co-op’s vast indebtedness has been caused by its merger in 2009 with the ailing Britannia Building Society, a move that was strongly pushed by Labour Cabinet minister Ed Balls, who just happens to be a leading figure in the Co-operative movement.
His role in the catastrophic Britannia deal was outlined by Flowers, who said Balls was ‘particularly supportive of us, talking to us and encouraging us’. In fact, before the current crisis, Balls liked to boast he had helped to create ‘Britain’s first ever super-mutual’.
But Balls can hardly be considered an impartial figure where the Co-op’s activities are concerned, given that he receives no less than £50,000 a year from the Co-operative Group to run his office as Shadow Chancellor.
In evidence to MPs earlier this month, Flowers said he had helped oversee a £100,000 donation to Balls, who he described as a ‘political friend’.
Balls, who has always delighted in bashing greedy bankers, has been conspicuously quiet over the Co-op’s crisis. He is one of 32 Labour MPs who are members of the Co-operative Party, which is effectively the political arm of the Co-operative retail, financial and wholesale movement.
Other senior Labour MPs in the Co-op Party include former education spokesman Stephen Twigg, Shadow Treasury minister Chris Leslie, Shadow Public Health minister Luciana Berger and former energy spokesman Meg Hillier, while the umbrella Co-operative Group donated £800,000 to the party in 2012.
Labour’s very existence is yet another indicator of the umbilical link it has with the Co-operative movement. The Co-op Party was founded in 1917 to promote the progressive ideals of co-operation and mutual responsibility, which had famously been set out in 1844 by pioneers in Rochdale when they created the world’s first co-operative shop.
But the Co-op party soon felt it was counterproductive to run against Labour, given their shared outlook, so in 1928 the two entities formed an official alliance, whereby Co-operative candidates would run under the Labour banner and any Co-operative Party member seeking office was obliged to join Labour.
Today, in addition to the Labour phalanx in the Commons, the Co-operative Party has 18 peers, five members of the Scottish Parliament, nine members of the London Assembly and more than 350 local councillors.
There are also 16 Labour-dominated local authorities that form the Co-operative Councils network, while the current head of the International Co-operative Alliance is Dame Pauline Green, a former leader of the Labour Party in the European Parliament at Brussels.
Little wonder that Pete Jeffreys, the campaigns officer for the Co-op Party, declared recently: ‘It is Labour that has consistently stood behind the Co-operative movement.’
It is no exaggeration to say that Labour would have had to declare for bankruptcy without the unending generosity of the Co-op. Over the past two decades it is estimated to have given Labour loans worth no less than £34 million, while a generous overdraft facility has been eagerly exploited.
In 2006, it was reported that Labour’s overdraft had reached an astonishing £11 million, and the party’s chronic indebtedness to the Co-operative lingers to this day.
In 1999, Labour took out two loans from the Co-op worth £3.86 million, secured on its party headquarters, yet 14 years later only £189,000 of this has been repaid. Throughout these years of improvidence, what has also kept Labour afloat has been the exceptionally generous interest rates charged by the Co-operative to the party, often just 2 per cent over the bank’s base rate.
As one insider put it: ‘We know the deals in the late Nineties were not normal. The party and the bank appeared extremely close and there seemed to be an understanding that the Co-op would underwrite the 2001 election at almost any cost.’
The financial backing works in other ways, too.
Every time a Labour member takes out a new Co-operative credit card, the party receives £15 for its campaign funds. More than £2 million has been raised for Labour in this way.
The Co-operative Bank also has a 26.66 per cent stake in the Unity Trust bank, which organises the finances of many leading trades unions. Founded in 1984, the Unity Trust had as its first chairman Lewis Lee, the general manager of the Co-operative Bank.
Until recently, the Co-operative Bank was just as big in local government, with Labour councils heavily dependent on its services.
In fact, the Co-op had 35 per cent of the municipal market, running accounts for around 160 local authorities. But thanks to its current crisis, it has been forced to announce it is pulling out of this sector to concentrate on wealth-generating businesses.
The hollowness of Labour’s principles was exposed in office, and the same absence of morality envelopes its sister organisation, the Co-operative movement.
All the fashionable progressive gloss about fair trade, equality and social responsibility cannot disguise how badly the bank has let down customers and staff as a result of its appalling management. This not only exposes its so-called ethical standards as a sham, but is expected to lead to the closure of around 50 branches and the loss of up to 1,000 jobs.
The Labour Party and the Co-op waxed lyrical about their commitment to prosperity and stability, but through their spectacular mismanagement, they have left only a trail of disillusion and debt.
Marketplace Changes Have Made ENDA Superfluous
APPLE CEO Tim Cook, writing recently in The Wall Street Journal, urged Congress to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, or ENDA, which would make it illegal under federal law for employers to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. Prejudice, Cook insisted, is bad for business. Indeed it is — as defenders of free markets have pointed out for years, irrational discrimination tends to reduce an employer's profits. Far from strengthening the case for a new federal law, however, it seems to me that Cook's observation cuts the other way.
Thanks to the changes already produced by the marketplace, a significant addition to the Civil Rights Act is superfluous. According to the Human Rights Campaign, the influential gay-rights organization and a prominent supporter of ENDA, nearly 90 percent of companies in the Fortune 500 have explicitly banned employment discrimination against gays and lesbians. As of April, only about 60 companies on Fortune's list had not yet formally adopted such policies, and very few have actually voted against doing so.
Whether motivated by ethical conviction, an unwillingness to alienate customers, or simply a decision to formalize workplace norms they were already adhering to anyway, American businesses have overwhelmingly integrated nondiscrimination on the basis of sexual orientation into the way they do business. When it released its Corporate Equality Index for 2013, the Human Rights Campaign proudly noted that many companies, "ready and eager to do the right thing," hadn't waited for lawmakers or politicians to lead the way. "Businesses have laid a foundation of workplace equality the likes of which no previous generation of employees and job-seekers has ever seen." In fact, it exulted, the number of firms achieving a 100 percent rating on its "LGBT equality" scorecard had soared — despite the fact that the criteria were the most stringent in the group's history.
Clearly there has been a sea change in the way Americans have come to think about employment discrimination against gays and lesbians. It would be surprising if that change weren't reflected on payday — and sure enough, that's what the data show. Economists Geoffrey Clarke and Purvi Sevak, in a study just published in the journal Economic Letters, note that gay men in the 1980s and early 1990s had less earning power than straight men of comparable age, race, and education. By the mid-1990s that "gay wage penalty" had disappeared; in the years since 2000 it has turned into a wage premium. As far back as 2002, for example, gay men were outearning their non-gay peers by 2.45 percent.
Is it logical to conclude from all this that the American workplace is so poisoned with bigotry against gays and lesbians that only a drastic change in the Civil Rights Act of 1964 can end the oppression? Or would it be fairer to say that the vast majority of American workers have no desire to see colleagues hired or fired because of their sexual orientation — and that the vast majority of US companies have no interest in letting sexual orientation become an issue? For years opinion surveys have documented near-universal support for gay rights in the workplace. The market is doing what markets have always sought to do: break down unreasonable discrimination by making it unhealthy for a business's bottom line.
New federal laws should be a last resort, when there is no other means of solving an urgent national problem. In a country of 300 million people, there will always be occasional incidents of bigotry and unfairness directed at people where they work, but plainly there is no urgent crisis in the treatment of gay and lesbian employees that Congress alone can fix. As it is, 21 states and nearly 200 cities and counties have followed the market's lead and enacted legislation barring employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Washington has more than enough on its plate. It doesn't need to add yet another protected category to the list of groups legally protected from private discrimination. That will only make federal cases out of even more disputes.
ENDA's supporters, such as Apple's Tim Cook, can't point to a worsening nightmare of anti-gay employment discrimination. There is no such nightmare, and there is not the least desire to impose one. Passing a federal law would be a powerful symbol, no question — but there are better places for symbolism than the statute books. Especially when it was markets, not statutes, that took care of this problem.
Some sustained feminist arrogance from Australia
The sustained feminist diatribe by Clem Bastow below purports to review a piece of market reseach. What one looks for in such a review is at least a summary of what the research says. But we don't get that here. All we get is a few sentences held up here and there for ridicule. No attempt to bring evidence to bear on anything the author disagrees with is made. The proposition that men watch what they say in front of women is such a tradition that I would have thought it unquestionable but our femiminst writer simply dismisses it as absurd. That rather shows how little she knows about men -- not surprising, I guess. The article amounts to nothing much more than a torrent of sneering denigration of men. The degree of insecurity that makes such defensivenes necessary can only be imagined. The lady is sick with hate. Too much feminist writing is of that ilk and that does tend to explain why many capable women refuse to call themselves feminists
If you’ve spent much time online or in the public sphere - or, for that matter, simply existing in the world in general - you might have been under the impression that men don’t feel particularly hobbled when it comes to speaking their minds.
Not so, if the release of The Modern (Aussie) Man White Paper is any indication. It has been prepared by advertising/marketing behemoth M&C Saatchi Australia’s senior strategist Carolyn Managh, who apparently lives in an alternate universe, if her quotes in the press release are to be believed: “The White Paper steps around the female minefield that stops academics, politicians and everyday men from saying what they really think, this research says what every man is thinking.”
(At the risk of sounding like a Carry On film, I don’t think my female minefield has ever stopped everyday men from saying what they really think, at least if you take the comments section on any Daily Life piece as evidence.)
The paper - written after eight months of interviews with 140 Australian men aged 27 to 55, which is, despite the paper’s “unprecedented” and “landmark” claims, not really an immense sample group - trumpets that Australian men are “so conditioned to being told they’re wrong, they’ve developed gender issue laryngitis”.
The irony of the phrase “gender issue laryngitis” being raised at the 10th annual Men’s & Father’s Roundtable, on International Men’s Day (funny, I thought that was the other 364 days of the year aside from March 8th, a ho ho ho), is not lost on me. Nonetheless, I persevered and read The Modern (Aussie) Man White Paper.
By the time I reached the page - and all of them are impeccably designed - featuring a pull-quote from Richard Wilkins that bellows, in huge type, “Women fall in love with the way you are, then try to change you”, followed on the next page by an inexplicable photo of G.I. Joe dolls, I had a pretty good idea of what I was dealing with. To wit: absolute twaddle.
The Modern (Aussie) Man White Paper comes off like an effort from The Gruen Transfer’s ‘The Pitch’ segment, however unlike ads convincing Australians to invade New Zealand, it does not appear to be a joke.
I was not alone in this reaction. “I initially thought it might have been written by the Chaser team. Or Alan Jones,” Men’s Referral Service and No To Violence CEO Danny Blay told me. “It attempts to describe all men as a singular type, [but] ignores the impact of traditional masculinity on violence against women, violent crime, criminal activity, sexual harassment, sexual assault, porn, child protection notifications, the prison population, road trauma…”
Indeed, the terrible irony of tone-deaf stunts like The Modern (Aussie) Man White Paper - announced as it was with an email blast bearing the subject header “Not All Men Are Bastards” - is that they cloak what is essentially market research in a flimsy patina of social science, attempting to fool the reader into thinking they are dealing with a serious research paper and/or genuine concern about the emotional status of Australian men.
That seems to be what has happened to Julia Keady, who writes, inspired by the white paper, “What I won't stand for is the advancement of one gender at the sacrifice of another”, and it’s that misguided stance (to say nothing of “gender issue laryngitis”, a phrase that made me hoot with laughter) that has, presumably, fuelled the paper’s creation, or at least its cod-scientific tone.
Keady also reckons “men's wellbeing and safety is not part of this nation's gender conversation” (I guess the roaring success of Movember is just a blip on the gender conversation radar), a claim that might hold some weight in the context of the white paper were it not for the fact that the study’s “key findings” include pressing issues like “[Australian men are] traumatised about buying women presents”.
Makes you think of the old Margaret Atwood line about men being “afraid women will laugh at them [...] We're afraid of being killed”, doesn’t it? But, you know, NOT ALL MEN ARE BASTARDS!
“Complaining that not all men are bastards is a blatant attempt to tell women to shut up; ‘it’s not all bad, deal with it’,” Blay says. “The white paper makes no mention of the physical, historical or social context of men’s power over women (and children – see recent investigations of institutional sexual abuse of children – not a lot of women implicated there) and negates the reality of the inherent unequal power imbalance based solely on gender.”
The paper’s conclusion bleats (in a font size that Superman would struggle to leap in a single bound), “The results of The Modern (Aussie) Man study were ASTOUNDING [...] Men miss being treated like men. Real manly men.” Really? “Astounding”? You interviewed 140 men and collated their responses in a “paper” that is essentially a 61-page version of such storied bits of wisdom as “you have to eat meat to feed meat” and “I’m not a poof or nothing”?
When the presser includes gems like “The Modern (Aussie) Man White Paper goes where few have dared to go; opening the gender conversation from men’s perspective, at a deeply personal level”, I can only think about how great a slice of the last, say, two thousand years worth of conversation has been from men’s perspective.
Nobody is here to deny the very real trauma of male suicide rates, depression, rape within the prison system (not to mention the prison industrial complex), workplace safety, alcohol-fuelled violence or war - issues that all but the most radical throwback feminists would agree are pressing.
Suggesting that there’s a “female minefield” that prevents men from speaking their minds, on the other hand, makes me wonder if whoever prints the calendars accidentally switched International Men’s Day with April 1st for 2013.
The Modern (Aussie) Man crew have really saved the best ‘til last, however. Despite great fanfare accompanying the release of the white paper, there’s nothing remotely scientific about it. And that’s because (if the presence of M&C Saatchi didn’t clue you in from the very beginning) you have to read all 61 pages to get to the truth: the final line, “M&C Saatchi hopes this study is the first step to bringing brands and men closer together.”
Who knew? “Opening the gender conversation from men’s perspective, at a deeply personal level” was just another way to say “Buy more Lynx and sick V8s.”
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.