"Crime continues to fall under this Government."

Home Office press release

January 26, 2022

Facts

In a press release dated Thursday 27th January 2022, the Home Office asserted that “ONS crime statistics out today show that crime continues to fall under this Government.” 

However, the Home Office claim is contradicted by the Office for National Statistics publication itself, which states: “Estimates from the TCSEW [Telephone-operated Crime Survey for England and Wales] for the year ending September 2021 compared with the pre-coronavirus year ending September 2019 show: a 14% increase in total crime, driven by a 47% increase in fraud and computer misuse”.

Data published by the Office for National Statistics showed a 14 percent fall in crime when fraud and computer misuse were excluded. But once these figures were included, the data revealed a 14 per cent rise.

The UK statistics authority ruled that the figures were presented by the Prime Minister and Priti Patel in a “misleading” way. 

Sir David Norgrove, the statistic authority's boss, responded to the Home Secretary and Prime Minister’s use of statistics saying: "The Home Office’s statement is therefore clearly not an accurate representation of the ONS figures. Elsewhere, the release refers to “overall crime levels recorded by the ONS, excluding fraud and computer misuse”, but that cannot justify the broader, unqualified claim that “crime continues to fall”

"If fraud and computer misuse are counted in total crime as they should be, total crime in fact increased by 14 per cent between the year ending September 2019 and the year ending September 2021. We have written to the Home Office and to the offices of the Prime Minister and Home Secretary to draw their attention to this exchange."

The press release can no longer be found on the internet, leading us to presume that it’s been withdrawn. 

Verdict

The Home Office’s statement that “crime continues to fall under this Government” was false. 

This false statement shows the extent to which the dishonesty of the Johnson administration has degraded standards of integrity in Whitehall. Civil servants have a duty to be truthful and impartial. Here the civil service was issuing a false statement which boosted the deceitful political narrative promoted by the Johnson government that crime was falling. 

In the wake of the Home Office press release, we emailed Permanent Secretary Matthew Rycroft and asked him whether he agreed with us “that it is a duty of British Civil servant to be rigorously accurate and impartial.” 

No reply, but we will press this issue with further questions for the Permanent Secretary.

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