Claims by Boris Johnson’s re-election campaign that crime on buses has fallen 30% “across London” have been questioned by Liberal Democrats at City Hall who claim the the Mayor is using “misleading” figures.
Election ‘newspapers’ distributed by Johnson’s campaign claim figures published by Transport for London “show that the chance of being a victim of crime on the capital’s bus network is now at its lowest level since records began” thanks to a fall of 30% in crime across the bus network.
However LibDem Assembly Member Caroline Pidgeon says official figures actually show an increase in bus crime “in more than one third of London Boroughs” between April 2010 to March 2011.
The row follows an earlier warning by the UK Statistics Authority that the Mayor’s use of crime statistics “was damaging to public trust in the statistics produced by Transport for London.”
In a letter to the Mayor, Authority Chair Sir Michael Scholar said Johnson had used TfL’s figures “as part of a media event to publicise the success of your policies, some time ahead of their normal release date”.
Sir Michael also indicated he would ask Ministers to to reclassify TfL’s statistics as official statistics to ensure that they are “treated with the same care and propriety as is now required by law for the most significant official statistics.”
The rebuke led to calls from opposition parties on the London Assembly for the Mayor to voluntarily abide by the Authority’s Code of Conduct.
Comenting on the Mayor’s election claims, Pidgeon said: “just three months ago the chairman of the UK Statistics Authority warned Boris Johnson that the way he was using the bus crime data could ‘be damaging to public trust in the statistics’.
“Sadly the Mayor has totally ignored this warning and is up to his old tricks of using misleading figures. It is simply wrong to suggest that bus crime is falling across the whole of London, when in fact in more than one third of boroughs it is increasing – and in some boroughs significantly.”
“Even where there has been some fall in the figures there should be no grounds for complacency about the level of crime on London’s buses. Bus crime is a problem everywhere, and in far too many places it is a growing problem.”