Thursday, 11 December 2008

The Daily Mail: Stabbing the government repeatedly.

From the Press Association:

"Stabbings have fallen in areas targeted by a police crackdown on knife crime, Home Office figures reveal. Figures from knife crime hotspots revealed the number of youngsters admitted to hospital with stab wounds fell more than a quarter between July and September compared to last year."

"In the 10 Tackling Knives Action Programme areas where there was increased use of stop and search, fewer youngsters were caught with knives - down from one in 30 to one in 65."

The Daily Mail, who you would think would applaud the success of stop and search, instead launch a criticism of the figures:

They claim that by probing "a little deeper" it is clear this is "more an exercise in spin than substance".

Let's see what their probing has revealed:

"Firstly, the figures relate to the ten 'hotspot' counties only. This is despite worrying evidence that a culture of knife carrying has spread to all parts of England."

So what is this "worrying evidence"? Maybe if I scroll down the article I'll find out. Keep scrolling... keep scrolling... It's got to be here somewhere, surely?

Moving on:

"Also, we are not told what the impact of pouring huge levels of police resources into knife crime has been on other offences. Has mugging or alcohol-related violence been allowed to soar, as officers concentrated on the Home Secretary's latest priority?"

Good point. Do tell us - Have they soared? Yes? No?

"This has happened with previous Government initiatives."

Which initiatives? Well? Anyone?

Great investigative journalism there: Who needs stats when you can rely on your copy of the Mail to provide some good old-fashioned rhetoric. It's the finest form of criticism.

On the subject of stop and search. Here is some advice from the Home Office website:

"You should not be stopped or searched just because of your age, race, gender, sexual orientation, disability, religion, the way you dress or because you’ve committed a crime in the past."

Yes, that's right: A middle-aged white stockbroker is just as likely to be stopped as a black teenager. Fact.

(I would provide you with some stats. But I can't be bothered.)

1 comment:

Spin spin sugar said...

Said with authoriy. Daily Mail is the No.1 enemy of those who seek to 'spin crime figures' because it's got an age old name that suggests constancy and regularity (though we are at the time of the year when Mail is only Daily if you pay extra money for the service). I think, in fact all the people I didn't survey probably thought so, so really its a given.
But its reporters do not even need to hide under that mast...they are just the people with their fingers on the pulse (of someone waiting for a lucky draw A&E place having just been stabbed in Chipping Norton). Ipso facto.