Written evidence to the House of Commons Public Administration Select Committee (PASC), Inquiry into Crime Statistics 9 April 2014 CST0004
This technical note was submitted as evidence to an inquiry into police practice in recording crime held by the Public Administration Select Committee of the House of Commons, UK Parliament. This note concerns the effect of ‘third-parties’ (sources other than the complainant who reports an incident and the police officers who deal with that report) on the recording of crime incidents. Third-party pressures have a systematic influence on the aggregate patterns and trends observed in the recorded crime statistics. The gap between the public’s propensity to report crime to the police and the police decision to record it creates a ‘grey figure’. The grey figure also reflects systematic performance adjustment on the part of the police who seek to reconcile third party pressures with the capacities and resources at their disposal. Three strategies of adjustment can be identified: ‘not-crimeing’, ‘no-crimeing’, and ‘down-crimeing’. Evidence is presented whereby these possible effects can be inferred.