Dear Ed,

Thank you for your letter regarding a statement issued on twitter following the announcement of the provisional Police Settlement, on December 16, which showed overall annual police funding. You highlighted concerns that the data were shown in nominal terms rather than real terms, suggesting that the tweet could be misleading and that it should be made clearer that the data are in nominal terms.

As you note in your letter, National Statistics are published annually in July on police funding, and data presented in this bulletin are done so in both nominal and real terms. Additionally, the statistics contain information on the different funding streams for overall police funding. At the time of the provisional Police Settlement, data are not adjusted for real terms as final precept levels must be set, and the National Statistics provide the opportunity to publish one version of the truth when data are finalised.

However, we agree that the tweet could have been better labelled to highlight that data are shown in nominal terms. While tweets cannot be revised without being deleted and reposted, we have taken action to improve the tweet. A comment has been added to the tweet to highlight that data presented in the chart are in nominal terms, and a link to the National Statistics has also been provided.

Going forward, analysts will continue to engage with communications colleagues to ensure the presentation and use of data is agreed with analysts ahead of publication on social media. We are committed to presenting police funding figures in a clear and accurate manner, and will continue to provide data in both real and nominal terms in the National Statistics released annually in July.

Yours sincerely,

Simon Palmer, Director of Home Office Analysis and Insight, Home Office