Facts needed for debate on crime

KEITH Newbery’s ‘Something to say’ piece, published on page six of the August 28 edition of the Seaford Gazette, gives the misleading impression crime in the UK is rising as a result of lenient policies pursued by the Department of Justice.

This is factually incorrect. According to the latest available figures (British Crime Survey 2010-2011) crime in the UK has in fact been falling since 1995-6, with a 44 per cent decrease in violent crime during this period (page 17 of aforementioned report).

It is therefore impossible to justify Mr Newbery’s assertion ‘people continue to get battered and robbed in ever increasing numbers’.

It is clear Mr Newbery disagrees with the policies put in place by Justice Secretary Ken Clarke, and this is a perfectly respectable position to hold. What is not acceptable is to attempt to back this position up with easily disprovable falsehoods.

Doing so simply undermines the case being made and, furthermore, is damaging to the public debate around crime to do so.

A notable finding of the same British Crime Survey is that the public hold the false perception crime is rising (page 23 of the report).

Fear-mongering on the part of people like Mr Newbery plays a part in this process.

It is important we have a full and honest debate about criminal justice policy in this country, but it is equally important that it is based on actual facts.

CHRIS DAVIES

Buckle Close, Seaford