• Changes in police numbers statistics mask local officer cuts.
  • Government ‘ceased collecting’ figures in London.
  • Parliamentary questions left unanswered before PCC vote.

As voters head to the polling stations to elect Police and Crime Commissioners in England and Wales, Theresa May’s department seems to be using official statistics to hide the scale of police cuts.

With some 15,000 police officers to go by 2015, details of local police officer numbers are of prime importance — but for more than a year the Home Office has failed to publish them. Formerly, statistics were published by police forces as well as smaller areas called Basic Command Units (BCUs).

BCU statistics were published on a yearly basis, and indeed were published in March 2010 and March 2011. But strangely, when it comes to March 2012 those figures figures weren’t published. Following this up, Labour MP Jim Cunningham asked about the lack of BCU figures for the Met, and was told:

“Figures at London borough level ceased to be collected from 2011-12.”

Additionally, parliamentary questions relating to other Police areas were shrugged off, with the Home Office saying that an answer would be provided as soon as possible — but before one appeared Parliament went into recess for, erm, the Police Commissioner elections.

What was that about lies, damn lies and statistics?

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