Saturday, 8 August 2015

With friends like these ...

Looking at the Morning Advertiser on-line, I came across this startling headline: "Violent crime at London pubs shoots up". It is illustrated by a picture of someone in a pair of handcuffs photoshopped against the background of a busy street scene at night. In 2014, the figure for violence against people in or outside pubs was 3,129 incidents, which was itself an increase on previous years. In 2015 to June, there were 1,777 offences. Licensed clubs, wine bars and bistros have shown a similar increase.

It all looks quite damning, until you read on. In October 2014 the police launched an operation to combat the rise in violent crime across the capital, specifically targeting licensed premises after research suggested they were hot spots for violence. The Met has stated that the rise in recorded offences can be partly explained by this crackdown "rather than a rise in violence per se". The British Beer & Pub Association point out that these figures cover 23,500 licensed premises in London, and sensibly state they'd want more evidence before concluding there was an upward trend.

It's good that the police are chasing up violent crime with more vigour, especially in the context of major reductions in funding, but to depict the predictable rise in detection of incidents as an actual rise in the number of incidents is misleading, if not downright mischievous, especially when the police themselves have made that very point. It is particularly disappointing that the deceptive headline was in a journal that calls itself "the industry's oldest and most-respected magazine", supposedly on the side of the licensed trade.

1 comment:

  1. It's widely recognised that statistics for many kinds of crime are very much dependent on the effort police put in to identify them, drink-driving being a good example.


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