Letter: Blame for the growth in crime

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The Independent Online
Sir: It is unfortunate that Sir John Wheeler ('How criminals cross the thin blue line', 9 February) chose to base his examination of the ineffective nature of British policing on such a flawed statistical relationship. The growth in recorded crime cannot be blamed on the police force; the only fair measure of police success must be their annual 'clear-up' rate of recorded offences, to which Sir John does not refer in his article.

To suggest that a reformed police force will reduce the numbers of recorded crimes is simplistic and misleading. This approach to the problem is no different from the Conservative government's attempts to 'crack crime' by increasing the number of police officers, a policy which by Sir John's own admission has failed.

The police are called upon to deal with the consequences of crime rather than the causes. To reduce the numbers of recorded criminal offences, it is sensible to examine the causes of crime and reduce them, which is the responsibility of politicians.

If there has been a failure to control crime rates, then it is a political failure, for which the police should not be blamed, and it is unjust for a politician of Sir John's influence to find undeserving scapegoats elsewhere.

Yours sincerely,