Over the past few days, the political editor of the Spectator, Fraser Nelson, has been doing a sterling job pointing out how Gordon Brown has basically been lying (Brownies) about the level of debt because the official statistics from the Government say the complete opposite to what he does.
Now, I've never been a brillaint mathmetician, I get by, nor was I particular good (or more correctly "inspired by") statistics. However, I am, I think at least, able to see trends and/or spot bizarre anomolies in sets of data that do not chime with what politicians might say is true, and I'm thinking I've spotted one.
Take the following two tables of data on "Police Manpower" from Hansard. The first lists the number of police officers per 100,000 population in each region of England and Wales between 1997 and 2008. The bottom line is that there are moe police officers now than then against an also growing population.
The second lot of data (split into two tables) shows the total offences per officer from 1997 to 2008. The bottom line of this dataset is that there are now more crimes per officers now than there were back then. So here's where I get confused.
If, according to the Government, there are more police officers per 100,000 of us since 1997, and there are also more offences committed per police officer since 1997. How can it be that crime is, also according Government, down? That doesn't compute. In fact it must mean the upward trend in crime is even greater than it appears because there are more coppers.
I simply cannot see how crime can have gone down whilst the number of police officers and the number of offences they have dealt with each has gone up. It doesn't logically work does it? Or am I missing something?