The BBC reported today that reported crime numbers are up. The figures are as follows:
Knife/Sharp Instrument Robbery - Up 18%
Fraud/Forgery - Up 16%
Drugs - Up 9%
Home Burglary - Up 4%
Other Burglary - Up 3%
However, at the same time, a separate BBC report states that crime numbers are down. The key points being:
Gun Crime - Down 26%
Knife Crime - Down 12%
Robbery - Down 17%
Rapes and Domestic violence - Both Up
The difference between them being that the figures that show the increase are for the UK, where as the figures showing a reduction are for London only.
The two BBC reports, despite being online do not make reference to each other.
So let me ask the question. How is it that crime nationally continues to rise, but crime in London is falling? Could the answer be that in London the Met Police Authority is Chaired by the Mayor, currently Boris Johnson? This is not a Tory/Labour Comparison, as the figures show in London year-on-year trends meaning this is a continuation of a trend started under former Mayor Ken Livingstone. It is the only authority in England that is not completely controlled from Centralised targets sent down from the Home Office, and where the Met Authority has a say on policing, rather than the Chief Constable rolling out initiatives based on centrally set Home Office targets.
Could this be the real evidence that can be used to further the case for locally elected sheriffs and/or elected Police Commissioners? With the Mayor being an elected official in London chairing the Met Authorities meetings we can see a tangible link between an elected official conveying the concerns of the public that they are elected to represent.
A convincing case for local Sheriff's has been made by Daniel Hannan and Doug Carswell in their book The Plan: Twelve months to renew Britain. I must confess that I was sceptical about local Sheriffs until I read their proposal, but they won me over on this particular point.