That is absolutely and entirely right, and it is to the Conservatives' shame that they have played around with the statistics. It is not enough for the hon. Member for Epsom and Ewell to say, as he did on the "Today" programme this morning:
"There are certainly changes in the reporting methods".
Well, I am not sure whether I should congratulate him on spotting that, because the changes have been quite significant. He continued by saying that
"the point is that they are the only comparators available."
That is nonsense. Comparing the previous figures with the current figures is like comparing apples with oranges. If the upshot of the changes was that we had somehow, through sleight of hand, hidden the extent of violent crime, I could understand the hon. Gentleman's point, but violent crime rose by 35 per cent. because of the adjustments, as-it is to be hoped-we were now measuring it in a far more accurate and victim-centred way. The Government, and all political parties, should be given great credit when they use such data in public forums.
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