Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Could 10,000 monkeys do better? Or 100,000?

One of the only true things ever said by a NuLabour Minister was John Reid's infamous assertion that the Home office was "not fit for purpose". And how!
The Home Office site Operational Policing says:
"Home Office research published in 2001 showed that 10,000 offenders (10 per cent of all offenders on the offenders index) in England and Wales are responsible for over half of all crime."

Yet the HO's Criminal Justice: The Way Ahead [PDF] says:
"Recent research suggests that a small group of hard core, highly persistent offenders, probably no more than 100,000 strong – about ten per cent of all active criminals – may be responsible for half of all crime."

(para 1.28)

They can't both be right can they? Or had we somehow got it wrong?

No, of course not.
In a blind funk I emailed David Green [of Civitas, see here] and asked if he could explain the discrepancy. Very kindly he did: the 10,000 quoted on the Home Office Police site is plain wrong.

So while the HO's policy left hand knows that half our crime is committed by 100,000 persistent offenders, its "operational policing" right hand is working on the basis that it's only 10,000.

No wonder the police detection rate is only about 20%- they think they're only looking for 10,000 hardened criminals, when in fact they should be looking for 100,000. And no wonder we don't have enough prison places, etc etc.

For fuck's sake, no wonder law and order in this country is such a fucking mess.
When last sighted, the Home Office was spending £1.1bn pa of our money on administrating itself. It was employing 22,000 staff to do so.

With that kind of budget, you'd sorta think they could just get one or two employees who weren't completely number blind.

As I have pointed out before, I am, in the main, a consequentialist libertarian: I believe that the state does things very badly and so it should do as little as possible.

I don't think that any further comment is needed, do you?

2 comments:

Little Black Sambo said...

I blame the decimal system.

Roger Thornhill said...

I always thought 100,000.

Still, at £40k p.a. for imprisonment, £4bln pa is still cheaper than 50% of the £60bln estimated cost of crime. Cheap at half the price.

So, before building the 3million homes, how about 100,000 cells?

Grief, criminals are not like newsagents - shutting one does not create a niche for more - except for drug-related stuff, but you know where I stand on THAT one!