Mayor Asked To Clarify Police Numbers

The UK Statistics Authority (UKSA) has asked the Mayor’s Office to clarify figures it’s been using during consultations on changes to the Metropolitan police.

We noted last month that the numbers being used to compare ‘current’ (October 2011) police numbers with projected future police numbers in the consultation were lower than those published in the London Datastore and, it turns out, lower again than those published by the Home Office. This matters because if you’re comparing figures and start from a lower baseline, it can be a neat way to make your future figures look better. In fact, the London Assembly Labour group pointed out that if the London Datastore figures are used, some boroughs actually lose officers under the new plans.

The UKSA has asked the Mayor to reconcile the figures (the full letter is available as a PDF, along with a letter to Assembly Member Joanne McCartney). The UKSA head, Andrew Dilnot, notes that the Mayor’s office and GLA aren’t signed up to the UKSA’s Code of Practice and don’t produce ‘official statistics’, so can’t be forced to provide clarification, but he’s clearly concerned enough to ask nicely. Sadly, Boris has steadfastly refused requests to sign up to the code, including an Assembly motion agreed by all parties, and once accused the previous UKSA head – a former Private Secretary to Margaret Thatcher, no less – of being a Labour stooge for questioning his numbers.

ITV News reports the Mayor’s office as saying

The UKSA have asked if we would be willing to provide more information to reconcile the statistics we have used with other available statistics, and we are happy to do so in due course.

The consultation period for the Police and Crime Plan is now over, however. We wait to see if a clarification appears before any reorganisation starts to happen.

Photo by psyxjaw from the Londonist Flickr pool

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