The head of the Police Federation will suggest a "fear factor" in the wake of the Leveson Inquiry is preventing officers from blowing the whistle on how crime statistics are being manipulated.
The intervention by Steve Williams, chairman of the organisation which represents 130,000 frontline officers in England and Wales, is highly significant because it appears to confirm widespread public scepticism of how crime is recorded.
Official figures show crime is at an historic low, despite cuts to police budgets and staffing levels.
Mr Williams will say that police transparency on crime levels and other areas has been badly hit by the Leveson inquiry on Press standards, which examined alleged collusion between police officers and journalists. . . . .
From the UK Daily Mail (May 14, 2013):
Police officers are afraid to speak out about the dubious practices being used to conceal true crime rates, a senior police leader has claimed.
Steve Williams, chairman of the Police Federation, said officers were under huge pressure to keep crime statistics down.
In some cases, mobile phone thefts were being recorded as lost property, while a spate of burglaries might be registered as a single offence.
‘The latest crime figures showed a 5 per cent fall in crime but, based on the anecdotes I’m getting, I am not sure that is the case,’ he said. ‘Pressure is being brought to bear on frontline officers on the way they are recording crime. . . .
Generally, there is some evidence of increased politicization of the police in the UK. From the Home Office's A New Approach to Fighting Crime
has this (p. 3):
Increasing government interference in recent
years has changed the focus of the police.
They have become responsive to targets and
bureaucracy rather than to people. They
have become disconnected from the public
they serve. only seven per cent of the public
know to go to their Police authority if they
have a problem. This has left communities
feeling disempowered from the fight to cut
crime. People no longer feel that the law
will be on their side if they try to do the right
thing. In Germany, two thirds of people
said they would intervene to stop anti-social
behaviour; in the UK two thirds would not. . . . .
While it is possible to reclassify a rape as an assault or a serious property crime as a less serious one, it is much more difficult to hide murders as some seem to suggest