Lies, Falsehoods and Misrepresentations from Boris Johnson to Rishi Sunak

‎”Crime is 50% lower than it was when we took office”

PM Rishi Sunak, House of Commons

Facts

Speaking in the House of Commons, Prime minister Rishi Sunak boasted that crime had dropped by 50% since 2010, when the Conservative Party took office. He has since made this claim on a number of other occasions (see here, here, here & here).

This claim is based on Crime Survey Data for England and Wales and does not include fraud and computer misuse offences. Due to a change in the data collected by the survey, data relating to fraud and computer misuse is only available from 2015.

According to the Crime Survey data, excluding fraud and computer misuse, in 2010 there were an estimated 9.5 million offences and in 2022 there were an estimated 4.8 million offences. 

Including fraud and computer misuse there were an estimated 9.2 million offences in 2022. Because there is no data that includes fraud and computer misuse before 2015 it is impossible to compare the total number of offences between 2010 and 2022.

A Home Office spokesperson told Full Fact that, because fraud and computer misuse only began to be included in the crime survey in 2015, it is necessary to exclude those offences when making longer-term comparisons, and said: “We have made it clear the figures used to show the reduction in crime excludes fraud and computer misuse.”

Full Fact contacted Downing Street about Mr Sunak’s comments but have not yet received a response.

Verdict

Given the available figures it would be fair to say that when excluding fraud and computer misuse offences, crime has indeed fallen by about 50% since 2010. However, by not specifying this, Rishi Sunak was misleading voters.

There are no available statistics that show overall crime in 2010 and thus no comparison can be made with figures from 2022.

As so often Rishi Sunak was being selective in his use of statistics. By excluding fraud and computer misuse offences, he was misleading Parliament. According to the Ministerial Code,  “It is of paramount importance that Ministers give accurate and truthful information to Parliament, correcting any inadvertent error at the earliest opportunity.  Ministers who knowingly mislead Parliament will be expected to offer their resignation to the Prime Minister.” Rishi Sunak was misleading parliament in defiance of the Ministerial Code, a resignation offence.

We emailed Rishi Sunak’s office and Number 10 offering him the chance to respond. The email was received, but no reply. 

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