Concerns over lack of accountability in new crime stats system

Police are introducing a new system for collecting crime statistics that they say will provide better information about the victims of crime.

However, police will no longer release information about how many crimes they solve, leading to questions around their accountability.

The first of the new information will be released on Friday and will be updated monthly.

The current format has been in operation since the 1970s and police say the new Recorded Crime Victim Statistics or RCVS have been introduced because there were limitations with the old data.

They say they weren't timely because they were released every six months, and didn't include a breakdown in ethnicity, age and gender and only gave a very broad location of the crime reported.

Police eventually hope to be able to break the figures down into suburbs.

Police say a number of agencies were complaining the statistics weren't useful in terms of identifying where problems were.

They hope the new data will help police and agencies to prioritise staff and resources to the areas of greatest need.

The biggest change to the new data means crimes are broken down into victimisations rather than offences. A separate set of data will be collected about offenders.

There will be a better information surrounding the relationship between victims and offenders, including partner violence, child assaults and elder abuse.

Relationships will be listed as unknown in cases where listing the relationships could lead to the offenders' victims being identified.

ONE News Police Reporter Paul Hobbs says "at first glance the new statistical method should better highlight who the victims and the vulnerable in our society are, and where we should be directing resources, but there are serious shortcomings."

The shortcomings

The new information will not be comparable in any way with the old data, and the new statistics will create a new benchmark.

Police will not publish resolution rates and it will be difficult for the public to know how successful the police are in solving crime.

The recording of ethnicities is subjective because it's determined by the police logging the complaint.

Victimless crimes like drug offences, some public disorder will only appear in a separate set of data called Recorded Crime Offender Statistics.

There’s fresh concern the new way police publish crime details no longer includes unsolved crimes. Source: 1 NEWS

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