“We have been cutting crime by 14%.”

Boris Johnson, House of Commons

January 30, 2022

Facts

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 percent rise.

The ONS found: “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”.

Sir David Norgrove, the statistic authority's boss,  responded to Mr Johnson’s use of statistics saying: " In this case, the Home Office news release presented the latest figures in a misleading way. Likewise, the Prime Minister referred to a 14 per cent reduction in crime, which is the change between the year ending September 2019 and the year ending September 2021. This figure also excludes fraud and computer misuse, though the Prime Minister did not make that clear.

"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."

Verdict

Boris Johnson was misleading parliament. His failure to correct this false statement means that he is in defiance of the Ministerial Code. According to the Ministerial Code,  “It is of paramount importance that Ministers give accurate and truthful information to Parliament, correcting any inadvertent error at the earliest opportunity.  Ministers who knowingly mislead Parliament will be expected to offer their resignation to the Prime Minister.”

We approached Mr Johnson’s office, the Cabinet Office and the No 10 Press Office to give him a chance to comment, but received no response. 

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