Juking the stats

The Wire (official “best tv series ever”) shows how the need to mess about with statistics distorts the nature of policing. It’s called something impenetrable like “juking the stats” (duking? jooking? dooking? On the basis of a brief Googling, I went with juking as it seems to mean “being deceptive”.)

The drive to constantly improve crime figures – numbers of crime and clear up rates – leads to several wrong-headed initiatitives, such as harrassing large numbers of people for petty misdemeanours in pointless swoops and attempting to ignore the existence of large numbers of bodies left by Stansfield’s crew.

As in art, so in life, to add yet another cliche to the “crimes against cliche use” tally in this blog’s statistics. British police are now protesting about the distortions created by the drive to improve statistics.
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Curtis’ Trap

This week’s programme was the second of the 3-part series. It was really well-argued. It wasn’t as engaging as the first one – the clips were a tad duller, but the logic was much clearer

Good points:
The way that public service targets have become straightjackets, undermining standards of service rather than improving them.
Blair and Brown have taken the Tories’ projects and run with them, taking them to levels that Major and even Thatcher would never have got away with.
Tranquilising the masses is creating a population who treat normal emotional variation as illness. (Surely the argument of the anti-psychiatrists who Curtis blames for the whole thing in the first place. Thoough I guess this argument is moreThomas Szasz than RD Laing)

There are apparently some clips on the BBC site, so you can catch up with the arguments even if you missed the shows.