HOME Office ministers should be stripped of their involvement in publishing crime statistics to restore public trust in the figures, a government watchdog said yesterday.
The Statistics Commission cautioned that without such a change the Government would be unable to persuade the public to have confidence in figures on levels of crime.
The independent watchdog also called for the Home Office to lose control over the British Crime Survey, which interviews 40,000 people about crime and, ministers say, is the most reliable indicator of offending.
It recommended changing the definition of violent crime, which includes more than 300 offences including bigamy, abortion and dangerous driving.
Public money is being wasted by the government employing too many press officers, the Conservatives say.
They say there are now more than 3,200 being paid from the public purse – a three-fold rise since Labour came to power in 1997.