Blurred Stats (Part II)

U.K. Statistics Authority censures head of state prosecution service for “hugely” exaggerating rape conviction rate statistics

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I recently blogged about how the U.K. Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) frequently inflates the rape conviction rate with its annual Violence Against Women and Girls crime report.

For instance, this year’s report boasts the “highest volumes ever recorded” of rape convictions, with a rise “from 2,689 in 2015-16 to 2,991 in 2016–17.” However, the accompanying data shows that those figures include “cases resulting in a conviction for rape, but also cases initially flagged as rape where a conviction was obtained for an alternative or lesser offence,” and “where a decision is taken to charge an offence other than rape, or where a rape charge is subsequently amended.”

Efforts via this blog to report the actual figures last year resulted in corrections in two major British newspapers, including a page two correction in the print edition of The Daily Telegraph.

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Now comes news that the U.K. Statistics Authority has censured Director of Public Prosecutions, Alison Saunders, for “hugely” exaggerating the figures.

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.’

Blurred Stats

Annual Violence Against Women and Girls crime report by U.K. state prosecution service inflates rape conviction rate statistics for second year in a row

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Last year, I blogged about how the U.K. Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) inflated the rape conviction rate with its annual Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) crime report.

In a press release, the CPS claimed that in 2015-16 it convicted “more cases of rape…than ever before,” with “a rise in the rape conviction rate [from 56.9 per cent] to 57.9 percent.” Those figures were widely reported by the British press. However, a close look at the accompanying data showed that those figures included “cases initially flagged as rape where a conviction was obtained for an alternative or lesser offence” and “where a rape charge is subsequently amended.”

Efforts via this blog to report the actual figures resulted in corrections in two major British newspapers, including a page two correction in the print edition of The Daily Telegraph.

Earlier this week, the CPS released its 10th annual VAWG report. The report again boasts the “highest volumes ever recorded” of rape convictions, with a rise “from 2,689 in 2015-16 to 2,991 in 2016–17.”

The accompanying data also includes the caveat that “CPS data on successful rape prosecutions includes not only cases resulting in a conviction for rape, but also cases initially flagged as rape where a conviction was obtained for an alternative or lesser offence.” The data report further states that CPS figures include cases “where a decision is taken to charge an offence other than rape, or where a rape charge is subsequently amended.”

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So far five major publications, The Guardian, BBC NewsThe Independent, The Times, and BuzzFeed News, have published stories quoting the CPS’ claims about “record” numbers of convictions.

I’ll ask all four about the inflated figures and blog the results.