Cops cooking crime stats

Written By: - Date published: 8:37 am, July 13th, 2014 - 45 comments
Categories: corruption, crime, national, police - Tags:

I posted previously on an apparent anomoly where the reported number of domestic violence offences had decreased significantly even though the number of investigations into domestic violence incidents had increased.

This morning the Herald on Sunday is reporting on another anomaly where South Auckland police have hidden burglaries by categorising them as lesser offences.  From the article:

Police altered official crime statistics to make hundreds of burglaries disappear, aHerald on Sunday investigation has found.

A damning report obtained by the newspaper reveals the burglaries were instead recorded as more minor crimes, or as incidents, which are not counted in crime statistics at all.

Five police staff, including then area commander Gary Hill, were sanctioned over the incident, and an “extremely disappointed” Police Minister, Anne Tolley, has moved to reassure the public this is an isolated incident.

About 700 burglaries were “recoded” in the Counties Manukau south area over three years, an internal police investigation has found. It found that about 70 per cent of the time, the offences should have remained burglaries.

Police Minister Anne Tolley is denying knowledge.

Police have not said why the statistics were altered, but say staff were not under instruction to do so. Tolley denied police were under political pressure to reduce burglary statistics.

This is a very strange statement to make.  Are we meant to believe that officers are doing this off their own bat to help the Government to give the illusion that crime is under control?

The next time that a National Minister trumpets a reduction in the crime rate New Zealanders are entitled to ask if this is really the case.  And what is happening within the ranks of the police that is making them doctor the crime statistics for political advantage.

45 comments on “Cops cooking crime stats”

  1. Tiger Mountain 1

    …“Nothing to see here, move along”
    sorry etc. couldn’t resist.

    The plod culture is still way out of whack with the modern world.

  2. Paul 2

    Juking the Stats
    From the Wire

    • McFlock 2.1

      snap

      damned fine show, too

    • greywarbler 2.2

      To the side of that link from Paul is one from David Simon writer of The Wire in an interview with the Guardian on the destructive effect of their war on drugs as felt in Baltimore. Thoughtful about what he says has turned into a war on the poor – sthey have lost their manufacturing and now there are lots of people who aren’t wanted by society and don’t have a purpose to be around. Chilling point.

  3. Weepu's beard 3

    The trend to misrepresent stats and mislead the public across several ministries suggests the cooking of stats is political and a deliberate marketing strategy and as such, comes from the very top, #TeamKey.

    Beneficiary stats cooked by misperesenting beneficiary travelling numbers, crime stats cooked by misrepresenting domestic violence incidents (and now burglaries), and job stats cooked by misrepresenting part-time casual work as meaningful employment.

    • McFlock 3.1

      Yes and no.

      The stats cooks themselves might not be part of #teamkey, but if you pressure someone enough to sort their clearance rates then they’ll find ways to lower reported crime or increase reported employment. Rather than, you know, addressing the problem.

      It’s a sign how far we’ve fallen as a society.

    • Ergo Robertina 3.2

      Yep. Also elective surgery stats were cooked by shifting emphasis and DHBs’ financial incentive to raw procedure numbers, rather than measures that factor in complexity of procedures. Severely truncated waiting lists that ignore patients who can’t access the system helps to keep its effect out of sight.
      It is central to the Nats’ marketing strategy to have piles of easy stats to reel off to disguise their true agenda with the banality of easily manipulated data.

  4. tc 4

    The police have shown they are willing lackeys for this and previous national govts being kindred spirits.

    Whats the numbers on ex cops being nat MP’s V other parties, Sabin comes across as a non caring elitist.

    Self serving, unaccountable, arrogant with no transparency in their use of taxpayer funds. Is it any surprise they do the nats bidding they share many values.

  5. Anne 5

    +1 from personal experience. tc.

    I was criminally targeted by certain people because of my association with the Labour Party in the 80s and early 90s and the police didn’t lift a finger. It was an incredible eye-opener for me. One cop even tried to turn the whole thing around as though I was the perpetrator and not the victim. Consequently I never saw justice and will never forgive the police for their arrogant, uncaring, and prejudicial behaviour.

    To be fair, my public service superiors were no better.

    • Colonial Viper 5.1

      National has a whole lot of institutional power and sympathy embedded throughout nz society. It seems to me that from the 70’s onwards that has swung even further blue, to the extent that supporting Labour can make you a literal pariah in many social circles.

      • Anne 5.1.1

        Bang on CV. And when the police can turn a blind eye to break-ins, damage to property and car, maiming of pets in mysterious circumstances and other frightening acts of intimidation then you have to wonder who are they really serving?

        • Colonial Viper 5.1.1.1

          Let alone considering the immense capabilities and technologies of our other modern security and surveillance institutions, and where their loyalties lie.

          • RedLogix 5.1.1.1.1

            I’ve seen it work the other way too.

            The ‘staunch’ union man suddenly gives it away – starts adopting the bosses language and behaviours – and a few years later is rewarded with a promotion he never rated. The Tories operate a filtering mechanism (albeit informal and imperfect) to sustain this dominance.

            • Colonial Viper 5.1.1.1.1.1

              Yep. Divide and conquer.

              The bosses guarantee that good conditions and pay for the most senior long serving workers (including the union bosses of course) will be fully protected. In exchange for agreement on cutting to the bone pay and conditions for all junior and new workers.

              One of the things which fucks me off about Labour raising the retirement age on those under 55. Looks just like this.

  6. Tiger Mountain 6

    Several Auckland policing areas have garnered bad reputations for this and that; i.e. hundreds upon hundreds of recent incidents, actions and policies that have not gone down well with citizens. Some of them have been tabled at great length by posters here including historic ones.

    Once you take Waitakere/Harbour, Manukau/Franklin and Auckland Central out of the equation it does not leave a lot really does it that is exemplary? So it comes down to Police culture and their role as part of the state forces. The submerging or recategorising of burglary stats cannot be viewed in isolation from the NZ Police’ political role.

    My personal experience is similar Anne’s. The blue bellies are generally partisan, socially conservative, sexist, racist, and intolerant of lawful dissent and especially the brown poor. CV is right too, particularly in smaller towns and rural areas the Police, farmers, tradies, lodges, sports clubs and business interests link up via unofficial in name only, tory networks.

    • minarch 6.1

      “The blue bellies are generally partisan, socially conservative, sexist, racist, and intolerant of lawful dissent and especially the brown poor. CV is right too, particularly in smaller towns and rural areas the Police, farmers, tradies, lodges, sports clubs and business interests link up via unofficial in name only, tory networks.

      +100 to this !!

      oh but you forget arbitrarily violent

  7. burt 7

    Reclassifying burglary as a less serious offence… No… Burglary is something you get a discharge without conviction for. It’s not the stats being cooked – justice is fried!

    • mickysavage 7.1

      I am not sure what your point is burt. Getting a discharge without conviction is exceedingly rare and the circumstances have to be very unusual.

      • Daveosaurus 7.1.1

        It used to be quite common a few decades ago – commerce and law students being yobbos and getting bailed out by the old boys’ network.

        • Colonial Viper 7.1.1.1

          Yep. An Otago law student working in a friend’s business was found to have stolen hundreds of dollars worth of product over a 12 month timeframe. Discharged without conviction due to the “disproportional” effects a conviction would have on this “promising young man’s future.” This was only a few years ago and there’s every chance that he’s your lawyer now…

          • minarch 7.1.1.1.1

            the judiciary are one of the most corrupt parts of our society IMO

            why do you think child molesters and sexual predators get such light sentences, we wouldn’t want to set a precedent for when one of the old boys gets caught at it would we…

            • Tom Jackson 7.1.1.1.1.1

              Fair enough, but at least our parliament isn’t the former home of a pedo ring, like the UK’s.

          • McFlock 7.1.1.1.2

            I don’t have a problem with a conviction being avoided if the effects are disproportionate to the crime.

            But on the other hand I do have a certain level of schadenfreude when someone who pulls that particular ripcord has a bit of a shock.

            I do recall talking to a cop I knew about a case of a couple of students who got nabbed for credit card fraud – a few grand on someone else’s card. When I expressed surprise that he said they’d probably get diversion, his response was that a few grand was fuck-all in the great continuum of non-violent theft by fraud, so it wouldn’t be worth going for a substantive sentence.

            • Colonial Viper 7.1.1.1.2.1

              If you’re white, studying law, medicine or accountancy, with parents who can afford a good lawyer it certainly helps.

              Put another way – if you are from privilege and know how to work the levers of that privilege you’ll get another chance. If you’re brown, poor and less educated, sorry.

              When I expressed surprise that he said they’d probably get diversion, his response was that a few grand was fuck-all in the great continuum of non-violent theft by fraud, so it wouldn’t be worth going for a substantive sentence.

              Michael Swann spent a magnificent one day in prison for every $9900 he defrauded his employer the DHB.

              • McFlock

                Even a halfway decent lawyer should be able to sort a petty crime for anyone on the way to requiring a professional certification.

                And given the millions that Swann stole, it puts a couple of grand in perspective.

      • Ergo Robertina 7.1.2

        ‘Getting a discharge without conviction is exceedingly rare and the circumstances have to be very unusual.’

        I doubt it’s exceedingly rare, but it would be interesting to see some figures.
        A recent IPCA finding that prompted a police apology highlighted the case of a ‘prominent Tauranga businessman’: http://basic.sunlive.co.nz/mobile/news/76607-apology-to-assault-victims-mum.html
        He was discharged without conviction last May after a child assault charge was downgraded to common assault as police claimed there was not sufficient evidence for the former charge.
        From the link:
        ”The boy told police that after an argument over in 2012 his father slammed his head twice on to the concrete floor of their garage, dragged him up some stairs, banged him against the walls, dragged him across the lounge floor, sat him down and slammed his head on to the kitchen table.’

        • McFlock 7.1.2.1

          interesting.

          NZStat has justice tables since the early 1980s – there seems to have been a sentencing change from about 2004. Before then diversion/discharge without conviction was only a few percent, then it spiked to 10-13%, and back down to 8% under national. That’s for all offences.

          BUT that’s the offences that got to court. Looking at total offences, convictions for total offences also jumped a couple of percent in 2004, and are going back down under national.

          Of course, that doesn’t include the juked stats.

        • mickysavage 7.1.2.2

          Ergo

          I was referring to a discharge without conviction for a burglary. I agree they are not too uncommon otherwise.

  8. BLiP 8

    Its about time the MSM took a look at Chopper Tolley’s performance as a minister, if you ask me. Just like Judith Collins before her, Tolley has been notable by her absence in any sort of leadership role. For example, I’m still wondering about her role in the John Key led National Ltd™ government’s handling of the alleged attempted rape by a diplomat case. Surely she was advised at the time and certainly before the Police dropped the bail conditions. Where was Tolley’s concern for the victim?

  9. Tom Jackson 9

    Don’t you people know that responsibility is only for poors.

    Now, pass me the croquet mallet, Lord Bullingdon.

  10. David H 10

    I( should imagine that it’s easy to say that No Burglary has happened, if you don’t go and investigate it, and just give an incident number for Insurance claims. Then it can be put down as any old incident

  11. Mike the Savage One 11

    Next weekend I expect the Herald on Sunday to report: “Pollsters cooking political polls to please National led government”!

    • whateva next? 11.1

      Exactly, and we can all breath out knowing those that akshully buleeeve Mr.Key’s polls will wake up and vote, realising they do count.

  12. NZJester 12

    Another one of John Key and National’s improvements in New Zealand that happened while they where in power is shown to be just another bit of Smoke & Mirrors.
    John Key cut taxes for all the hard working folk by lowing P.A.Y.E. and the fact G.S.T went up and all the poor hard working are paying more money weekly on essentials than they gained from the P.A.Y.E. cut is not a problem because the T in G.S.T. apparently does not stand for tax!
    The National Government have only really made crime statistics come down on paper but not in real life. The sort of things the police have done with their paperwork do not happen just by chance without someone high at the top pushing for them to be done.
    You can’t keep cutting the police budget and expect crime to actually drop also.
    You can bet someones head in the NZ Police will eventually roll for this. I wonder who they have chosen as the scapegoat for the Police Minister?
    Also who is the scapegoat for Foreign Minister Murray McCully at MFAT that will have his head roll over the Malaysian diplomat scandal?
    John Key has a very close relationship with the GCSB, can we trust he does not have them spying on left wing parties like previous National Governments have been known to have done in the past?
    #TeamShonkey

  13. North 13

    I suspect cooking the books does not come essentially from police. I suspect it comes from the cabinet down to top brass who having been required to commit to arbitrary targets are ‘encouraged’ by approval of redefintions here and there. Then on down to area commanders and then on down to the stations. Would anyone be surprised were the (relatively only) good cop Tolley and the (stand alone) bad cop Collins together ‘fixing’ it so that they ‘obtain’ from their respective departments figures ‘amenable’ to favourable political use by them. ‘Whippin’ up a batch of soundbite’ so to speak. All ready for September.

    • Weepu's beard 13.1

      It’s that startling lack of proper process which has defined this government that is the worry. Quiet words, phone calls to media, and back room deals have all clouded the transparency and accountability of this government. As NZJester alluded to, John Key considers the GCSB “his” agency (he has actually said that), and I believe he’d use it with a nod-and-a-wink for whatever purpose he sees fit, including gathering information on opposition parties. Most National voters wouldn’t have a problem with this either – they’d blindly see it as some sort of competitive advantage to be used to keep their man at the helm.

    • dad4justice 13.2

      I agree this cover up and cop out shows how rotten the system is. National will sweep this under the carpet. Demented supporters of National condone corruption.

  14. minarch 14

    A.C.A.B

  15. Tracey 15

    occurred under collins not tolley and in collins electorate. all just coincidence though

  16. Pasupial 17

    The double standards are as stark as ever. What did Judith know, when did she know it and why didn’t she inform anyone else? The media can’t seriously let Collins get away with announcing she knew about this and then twist it into an attack on Labour?

    http://thedailyblog.co.nz/2014/07/14/so-judith-collins-was-aware-of-police-ghost-stats-what-if-david-cunliffe-had-done-the-same/

  17. Sable 18

    More smoke and mirrors from the dodgy National government….No doubt some public servant will pay the price for their dubious behaviour….

  18. greywarbler 19

    I note how keen the police are on transport policing plus nosying into possible infringements on vehicles, non payment of fines, you didn’t cut your lawn? Is that the new face of policing, one that brings direct fines, Sort of privatising the police in that they get returns off their work when its transport. Perhaps people will be soon, are, expected to give handouts to the active officer when they want to be taken seriously.

    This reduction in stats probably comes because of an economic pressure either on the supply or the demand side, ie there will be money and targets and positions affected by what the stats look like. Someone should be able to tell us the route from direction to result, the particular moral hazard that applies.

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