Friday 12 December 2008

Gov Stats: Irregular and selective

News that Number 10 pushed the Home Office to publish unchecked stats of stabbing figures in Notts is outrageous, but sadly not surprising.

Suspicion that something fishy was going on was first raised when the press release, which had been previously announced, was delayed again and again throughout Thursday.

When it did finally come there was no breakdown of the nine areas involved – including Notts – just an overall figure.

A Home Office official told me the breakdown wasn’t ready yet, which set alarm bells ringing considering the total figure must have come from the sum of all the broken down figures in the first place.

Furthermore the total figure seemed to bear no resemblance to what was happening in Notts – teen stab wounds at the city’s main hospital actually seem to have gone up.

The Home Office was last stung by a statistics balls up quite recently, so it’s no wonder that officials there weren’t willing to put figures out until they were ready.

You have to ask why Number 10 felt the need to push the issue – a desire to get a good headline before Christmas perhaps?

Or maybe to divert attention away from German finance ministers slagging of the PM’s economic policy.

Lobbydog has tried caling Notts MP and Police Minister Vernon Coaker, but it went through to answering machine.

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