Police funding infographic for Beating Crime Plan
I am writing regarding a statement issued on twitter on December 16 showing overall annual police funding.
The data are shown in nominal rather than real terms. Providing data in nominal terms gives the impression of a greater increase in police funding over time than would be seen if using real terms figures. While real terms figures would give a better sense of the increase felt by police forces, we recognise that real terms figures are not produced until July. Given the potential to mislead, the tweet should be clearer that the data are in nominal terms, and therefore do not take account of the changing value of money over time. Presenting the data without showing the full axis from zero also contributes to the impression of a greater increase.
In addition, the tweet could give the incorrect impression that central Government is providing the entirety of the announced £1.1 billion investment. The development of the statistics around police funding were in direct response to previous concerns about such misleading language – see the letters from Sir David Norgrove to Louise Haigh MP and Sir David Norgrove to Dame Vera Baird QC.
As was the case in 2018 we recommend that the Home Office analysts engage with their communications colleagues about the need for clear public statements about police funding. It is also important that the Home Office communications colleagues proactively engage with analysts to ensure outputs are clear and reflect best practice. Our guidance for statements about public funding can be used as a checklist of considerations for teams when putting out public funding announcements which may help inform such discussions.
This letter has been copied to Jodie Hargreaves, Head of Policing Statistics, in order to facilitate this.
Director General for Regulation