Blurred Stats (Part III)

— The U.K. Statistics Authority just censured Director of Public Prosecutions Alison Saunders for “hugely” exaggerating rape conviction statistics – here’s a list of news outlets that published the bogus figures

Last week, the U.K. Statistics Authority formally censured Saunders for “hugely” exaggerating the 2017 rape conviction rate.

Via “CPS chief is blasted for claiming the number of rape convictions is more than double the real figure” by Martin Beckford, The Daily Mail, October 21, 2017:

Britain’s top prosecutor has been blasted by a watchdog for claiming the number of rape convictions is more than double the real figure.

Alison Saunders, the Director of Public Prosecutions, was warned that the hugely inflated figures in a report on violence against women were ‘misleading’.

She was told in a letter from the UK Statistics Authority that the true number of people convicted of rape last year was under 1,400. This is less than half the 3,000 she alleged in the report by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) earlier this month.

The huge gap is because the CPS includes crimes that were originally investigated as rapes but later downgraded to less serious offences.

Last night, TV company executive Leon Hawthorne, who complained about the statistics discrepancy, said: ‘Alison Saunders went on the media to boast about how more and more rapists are being found guilty. The problem is her figures are a calculated deception.’

Here’s a list of news outlets that published the “hugely” inflated figures, including two major British newspapers that last year issued corrections as a result of efforts by this blog:

The Independent – Last year, The Independent falsely reported that in 2016 there were “a record number of rape prosecutions (4,643) and convictions (2,689).” The paper later issued a correction “to reflect the fact that the CPS rape conviction figure of 2,689 also include cases where a conviction was obtained for an alternative or lesser offence.”

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Earlier this month, the paper again falsely reported that the number of convictions for violent crimes against women including rape “had increased, from 69 per cent in 2007-08 to 75.3 per cent this year – the highest ever recorded.”

The Daily Telegraph – Last year, The Telegraph falsely reported that in 2016, the “conviction rate for rape cases rose to 57.9 per cent of the 4,643 cases brought.” The paper later issued a clarification, plus a lengthy explanation. It did not report the 2017 statistics.

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The Guardian – Last year, The Guardian false!y reported that in 2016 there were “a record number of rape prosecutions.” The report correlated those numbers with inflated numbers of convictions.

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Earlier this month, the paper again falsely reported that the “number of rape prosecutions completed rose from 4,643 in 2015-16 to a record 5,190 in 2016-17.”

source

BBC News – Earlier this month, BBC News falsely reported that in 2017, convictions for rape rose “to new highs of 5,190.”

source

The Times – Earlier this month, The Times falsely reported that “the number of rape convictions rose from 2,689 to 2,991 between 2015 and 2016.”

source

• BuzzFeed News – Earlier this month, BuzzFeed News falsely reported that “convictions for rape have increased by 48% over the past 10 years.”

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Click here to see the underlying CPS data on the 2017 rape conviction rate.

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