Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Juking the stats

One of the things The Wire did was introduce us all to the concept of juking the stats:

Making robberies into larcenies. Making rapes disappear. You juke the stats, and majors become colonels. I've been here before.

Or, in our government's case, you could just not prosecute people at all:
Police are being instructed to charge fewer people in order to meet National’s crime reduction targets, Labour says.

“Front line police and others in the criminal justice system are telling us police have had pressure put on by senior officers to reduce the number of charges they lay to meet the Government's targets,” Justice spokesperson Andrew Little says.

“Police are increasingly using pre-charge warnings as a device to not proceed with charges. At the same time I have heard of people being told to gather evidence themselves before police will consider bringing charges.

And hey presto, they meet their arbitrary targets and everyone gets promoted. But crime doesn't actually go away if you ignore it, and unprosecuted criminals are free to re-offend. National's juking the stats to meet its arbitrary targets are thus saving up more and more problems for the future. And in the process, they're eroding our trust in the police, and destroying our trust in government.