Nottingham hits back at label of most criminal city

The MP for Nottingham North has today dismissed a new report claiming his city is the most crime-ridden in Britain as “sloppy, error-riddled London-based research”.

Graham Allen, the chairman of the city’s local strategic partnership between police, councillors and the probation service, insisted a new study by independent think tank Reform was “lazy stereotyping” and would do little to help the fight against crime.

The report compares last year’s crime figures in seven areas – murder, rape, assault, burglary, robbery, car crime and gun crime – and has come up with an easily understandable league table of Britain’s cities.

Nottingham comes top in the poll, recording four times as many of these crimes per 1,000 residents (115.5) as the safest towns, such as Southend (30.9) and Poole in Dorset (32.7).

London comes surprisingly low down in the league tables, in 29th place, although this disguises widespread variations within the capital – the borough of Hackney has a rape rate of 7.44 per 1,000 people, the highest in England the Wales.

The report’s authors argue that the annual national crime statistics, which the government uses to show crime is falling, are hiding these variations – and warns that as a result, individual police forces are not being properly held to account.

“The publication of better information is a key means to improve the performance of public services,” said Reform director Andrew Haldenby.

“For services such as health and education, it allows users to exercise choice between providers. For services such as policing, where choice does not apply, it allows local communities to compare the performance of different police units and to demand better performance.”

His comments echo the conclusions of a recent report by the Audit Commission suggesting crime figures should be much more specific, to highlight specific crime hotspots and enable the police to target them more effectively.

In Nottingham, however, the report has not been welcomed, and Mr Allen insisted the figures used were misleading, with the area covered by the research excluding the greater city-suburbs, where there was less crime.

“No-one, least of all those who are leading the local attack on crime, pretends Nottingham is crime free. However the truth about Nottingham is that crime is falling in virtually every category,” he insisted.

He added: “Nottingham is challenging the lazy, stereotyping of pseudo-research and misleading reporting which has become part of the problem rather than part of the answer.”