Police Grant Report

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Prime Minister – in the House of Commons at 2:24 pm on 3rd February 2010.

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Photo of Tony McNulty Tony McNulty Labour, Harrow East 2:24 pm, 3rd February 2010

Of course the hon. Gentleman may say what he said about what I was like as a Minister.

I am talking about where we need to go, rather than about the existing circumstances. To be fair to myself-if that is possible-I think that I said much of this from the Dispatch Box during the debate that was mentioned earlier. I believe that there needs to be a collective will and consensus.

As I said earlier, there needs to be some seriousness in the debate about police grant and resources, and all the issues that surround that subject, if we are to do right by the public. Let me give an example that is relevant to resources. Back in 2005 we decided, rightly, that there were serious problems with the data relating to violent crime. We consulted widely on that, and a cross-party panel looked at the detail and arrived at some conclusions. The upshot was, in essence, that it was thought that the way in which violent crime data are assessed and collected should be changed so that, instead of having just the standard police definitions, the victim's own thoughts on the level of the violence of the crime were at least taken into account. We therefore changed those definitions, which I think was rather brave, although we could perhaps have gone further.

As a result, all subsequent data on violent crime are substantively different, and that, of course, has implications for the measurement of the performance of police forces. It is, therefore, frankly not on for the boss of Chris Grayling-to compare the new violent crime figures with the old ones, and to do so in such a distorted and disingenuous fashion. I was going to say "mendacious", but I suspect that that word is on the list of non-parliamentary language. This airbrushing of statistics does the hon. Gentleman and his party no credit, and, more importantly, it serves to distract from the reality the Government were trying to get through to by changing the statistics in the first place.

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