Labour Conference: Crime statistics overhaul

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A fundamental overhaul of the way the official crime statistics are calculated was announced yesterday by Jack Straw, the Home Secretary. Addressing a Police Federation fringe meeting, Mr Straw said the new system of counting would produce a more accurate picture of true crime levels.

The changes, the first since 1980, are expected to lead to higher overall figures, reflecting more closely the findings of the independent British Crime Survey.

The previous system, based on crime recorded by police, was criticised for the way a string of offences committed by an offender could end up being counted as just one crime.

Mr Straw said the new system would be broadly based on the principle of "one crime per victim" - equating the number of crimes recorded to the number of victims.

He saidd the twice yearly publication dates would be set according to a fixed formula, ending the scope for ministers to manipulate their publication for political advantage.