Page last updated at 22:39 GMT, Thursday, 23 October 2008 23:39 UK

Crime miscount: Your comments

A number of police forces in England and Wales have been undercounting some of the most serious violent crimes, the government has admitted.

Here, BBC News website readers share their own experiences of reporting crime.


My brother was a victim of a gruesome attack, leaving him fighting for his life, he had broken bones, a fractured skull, the attackers even tried to cut his ear off, leaving him essentially deaf in one ear. Yet the West Yorkshire force recorded the attack as merely assault, the matter was reported to the IPCC but the attack has not and never will be reclassified.
Ian, Bradford, West Yorkshire, UK

I am a serving police officer and on many occasions I have had crimes that I have recorded correctly get changed to a lesser crime so that the "figures" look okay. Time and again I record GBHs with intent where someone has, for example, hit someone else over the head with a beer bottle and caused GBH but it is changed because we can't "prove" his intent. The law is actually very clear but there are too many managers and not enough police officers and as long as that continues you will keep getting distorted figures.
RVT, Surrey, UK

In 2006 my two-year-old was shot in the face and blinded in one eye by a teenager with a pellet gun. This happened in a town riddled with CCTV cameras, plenty of people saw it but no-one came forward as a witness. The CCTV pictures were so blurred, apparently, you could just about make out a featureless human. On lack of evidence, it was eventually dropped. It is a shame that the millions of tax-payers money invested in city centre CCTV proved worthless in this instance. I consider what happened a serious assault, but has it made it into the statistics? I bet is hasn't.
Paul H, Derbyshire, UK

When I was a Greater Manchester police officer I had several conversations with members of my force about recording offences. One of my concerns was that my force had taken the step of recording several offences under the umbrella of one main offence. Should an offender commit two separate offences against one person then only the main crime would be recorded, the second offence detailed within the body of the main offence. Should the CPS decide the evidence was strong, however, then the offender would be charged with all of the offences. As such convictions go up, whilst recorded crime goes down. It has always given me great cause for concern that the police appear too weak to record the truth of what is happening out on the streets.
James Cook, Wigan, Greater Manchester, UK

Of course reported crime is down. You're not able or allowed to report crime. I saw an incident in June: drug-taking and dealing in a busy part of the town. As the local police station is on my way home I decided to call in and report it. I sat there for 30 minutes waiting to be seen, then decided to write down some of the numbers on display and report it from home. After going through to a variety of voicemails for departments that are only open between 9am and 5pm, I decided to go back to the police station. 90 minutes after seeing the crime I finally managed to speak to a "clerk". I was told there wasn't much point and that they were too busy dealing with muggings and stabbings. This could account for the "falling" crime rate.
Tim James, Walthamstow, London, UK

On several occasions I have tried report a crime and every time they were too busy to send a policeman and I had to deal with it myself. Most people I speak to now don't even bother to report crime because it is a waste of time.
A Smith, Cambridge, UK

I was recently a victim of assault in the workplace, the case was dropped by the police. As for believing figures on crimes? I don't need to, all I have to do is look outside my doorstep and I see it for myself. If the police or media say violent crime is down I don't believe it in the slightest, because I still see it outside every day. Statistics mean nothing to the individual, only to the people at the top trying to look good.
Kyle Smith, Ipswich, Suffolk, UK

Years ago I was badly beaten up outside a nightclub in Kettering where I had, of course, been drinking. The police did everything they could to stop me reporting it officially. I was told by the police van that passed by two minutes after the incident they could do nothing and if I wanted to report it I had to go to the nearest station. When I got there the desk sergeant told me if I reported it he would arrest me for being under the influence of alcohol. The official stats are way off reality.
WH, Herts, UK

I have tried to report some fairly serious assaults seen in recent years but each time have stopped when what I needed to do became so difficult or impossible, I had to stop. One particular incident involved a group of youths setting on someone and kicking him whilst on the ground viciously - it was absolutely unprovoked as well. I was asked if the group were still there at the scene. I said no, and they said there was nothing they could do about it. It is absolutely ridiculous that it wouldn't even have been reported given the nastiness of the incident. As this has happened to me three or four times, and I know other people who have seen but not reported, I should imagine the real figures are even higher.
Matthew Sanger, Southampton, UK

A few years ago I was mugged by three youths. They punched and kicked me on the ground and stole my watch. I called the police who came out to me and took brief details before I was sent to hospital. After that I heard nothing. Nobody came to see me, there was no follow up. I complained about this and they sent a detective out to take a statement but again I heard nothing more. A few weeks later a senior officer wrote to me and told me that he was satisfied that the matter had been dealt with appropriately.
Paul Owen, Birmingham, UK

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