Cost of Crime (2)

It’s hard to explain how we might go about establishing facts in order to create a more rational and ‘better’ society.  There is room to doubt that even schools and universities have failed us in this respect.  These days most of us could home school through the Internet.  There is some cracking stuff about in the mire of 99% porn and crap.

Google is now our first route into knowledge – I use duckduckgo too.  I refinement on Google is Google Scholar.  This puts you into the academic world of books and papers – porn is rare but the 99% crap rule applies.  Without organisational/university access you have to pay to read many journals.  Paying $20 – 50 a pop for goat-poo doesn’t feel good.  Some academics post their work free on their own or university sites.

You can build quite a library through the Internet – but how do you sort the wheat from the chaff?  In Cost of Crime (1) I tried to give the reader a glimpse into how hard this can be.  Slack use of words by academics reporting a cost of crime project from Cambridge had be thinking each of us in the UK pays 12 quid a year to support just one miserable male criminal prolific offender.  Actually, its 12 quid from each of us on average to support all 780 thousand in this category.  Pity – as I pointed out – as culling just 4 of them would pay our country’s EU fees if my first reading had been true – whereas the fact is culling all of them would only pay a quarter of this.  I think killing people is wrong – but this is incidental to the thought experiment.

One reason I was tempted into false belief on the cost of an individual recidivist scrote is personal impact when they have crossed my path.  Our former next-door neighbours were so damaging on our lives that I should have killed them at the start and done the time – I’m a bit ashamed I couldn’t have lived with the guilt.  In more recent times, our grandson and many others have been terrorised over two years by a 15 year old piece of vermin.  Action and attitudes amongst the relevant authorities has improved, but the ease with which such scrote can ruin victims lives remains as was.  How does one cost such stuff as finding a grandchild on suicide sites?

The devastating impact of these shits on people forced to put up with them is so massive I can imagine 4 or 5 of them costing us more than EU membership.  The truth is that we are very reluctant to spend the money needed to prevent crime fucking the lives of victims.  12 quid each a year is peanuts, even in dealing with the part of crime committed by the male, high-rate offenders.  Yet the peanuts add up to us not having a university of the air – or whatever.

The 15 year old I mention first came to light in our street waddling about in his nappies.  A decent neighbour used to take him in.  He caused so much trouble at his junior school he was transferred to the one our grandson attended.  He needed a firm hand, but I quite liked him at this time.  He lasted almost no time at all at secondary school as was sent to one for behaviourally disturbed kids – only to be such a problem there parents started to withdraw their kids – he will be excluded.  A six week custodial had no effect and his crimes include burglary and blackmail.  The story is long and he has probably done years of damage to other kids.  One ‘answer’ could have been to evict the family, but not only would this have punished the rest (decent enough) of the family, they were able to evade this by putting in to buy the house.

Loads is written on all this – – is an American example.  My own feelings on discovering my grandson’s terror concerned killing the source of the problem – I’m almost non-violent.  When I did warn the scumbag off he caused £500 of damage to our car.  I accept that we give up personal retribution, prevention and vendetta for good reasons..  Even Hobbes knew that.

We can ask what it would cost to do the best we can for the 15 year old lout.  He could go to a semi-secure boarding school – cost vast.  This would, of course, remove the cost burden from our grandson and 50 or so others.  A major feature of our CJS is that it defrays costs onto victims.  Decisions are made in cash not pain – and in devolved budgets.  And we should consider that paying out for facilities to perpetrators feels lousy.

It costs a fortune to sneeze these days.  The amount we probably need to spend on the people who commit most of what we consider crime is probably so massive we can’t afford it.  Instead we have  CJS that tries to keep the lid on and a lottery attitude to being a victim. You’re lucky if you win the money lottery and it’s just tough luck if you ‘win’ the victims’ one.

The financial cost of dealing with problem families is so vast one has to wonder whether giving them the £500K with plane tickets to Bulgaria would be better.  Looking ahead of being able to marshal facts, I’d say most already written is likely to be cloud-cuckoo-land posturing.  I’m sick and tired of ‘project solutions’ set up with no clue how to put intensive care operations into the financial mainstream.  I currently believe we are ignoring paid work as an answer.

We need some imagination – so imagine this.  We do some charity stuff to buy some tractors and such (plus the means to fuel and maintain them etc.) and take them to rural India to boost agricultural production.  Before getting carried away, you need to think that this excellent idea might end up killing peasant farmers and their families made redundant by the technology.  This warning applies well to crime thinking.

Cost of Crime (1)

In most of my life, economics has been the main reason for not being able to do what I wanted to – from lounging on Caribbean beaches during an England Test tour to getting a European project to help some local kids off the ground.  In the smaller sense of business costing, costs have generally stopped me in my tracks.   Given money is really just plucked from thin air this seems odd.  When it finally dawned on me mos of this plucked cash goes into a bookmaking scam I gave up on economics.

It is estimated that a male high-rate chronic offender on average would impose an annual cost of £18 ($29) per U.K. citizen or a lifetime cost of £742 ($1,185) per U.K. citizen.  This from:

Money expressed like this makes no sense.  It costs each UK citizen £74/year to be in the EU – so four bastard chronic offenders cost each of us as much as EU membership.  Nigel Farrage probably thinks the EU does us more damage, but much as I want the smoking ban lifted, I don’t.  If we could cull only 100 of these shits we could pay our way in 24 varieties of EU – not everyone’s choice in using the money!  I bet it might be enough to get a university of the air off the ground.  I could write the business plan that killed this lot off in return for bounty equivalent to their known cost and build this modern university.  Fees would be about £2K a year for non-science graduate programmes offered to all on an international basis.  I like enterprise solutions to crime, and not much is more criminal than than sticking kids with $100K debts for the opportunity to regurgitate some limited textbook material into a degree certificate.  I’d offer local businesses the chance to host social, sports, art, theatre and discussion events for our students – based on student social networking and organisation.  Electronic library and resource board – all that’s missing is the overhead (60% of charges for a bit of toss-art in the vice chancellor’s lodging).  The International University of Killakrook?

I hope, in rough approximation, this gives you a real idea of the costs of crime.  No one in their right mind would want 24 EU memberships, but would anyone in their right mind really want 100,000 recidivist scrote preventing 1000 innovative start-up businesses every year?  For this is the status quo of our madness.

I see crime and its costs as much wider than this.  Just now I need to find someone with a subscription to the journal with the £18/year per person in the UK figure.  There are 65 million of us.  65,000,000 times £18 is more beer than I could drink in a lifetime.  The research is from Cambridge – maybe they can’t count?    I rarely see social research that can be taken at face value.  £1300 million a year to keep a scrote criminal?  I suspect it’s nearer £1 million – but in principle my figures above work – we just need to kill the crooks 130 times faster.

From the actual paper:

This crime cost is calculated using the following formula with the high-rate
chronic offender group as an example: [2.5 percent (prevalence of male highrate
chronic offenders)  31,118,895 (2011 U.K. male population) ¼
777,972 (total population of male high-rate chronic offenders)  £59,760 (average
cost of a male high-rate chronic offender) ¼ £46,491,606,720/62,698,362
(2011 U.K. total population) ¼ £742 per U.K. citizen]. The annual crime cost
is calculated by dividing the lifetime crime cost by the number of years of
offending data available in the study (41 years).

Sorry abut the loss in electronic translation.  You should be able to tell how easily I’m lead up the garden path reading academic stuff.  It rarely makes itself clear.  I thought these people (before I got the full paper) were saying each of us Brits were coughing up 18 quid for each of these high rate chronic scrotes a year.  In fact each of us is paying 18 quid for all three-quarters of a million of them.  So we pay 4 times more to be in the EU.

This is still a huge amount of money – roughly £1300 million.  Remember this is nowhere near the annual cost of crime in the UK.  The paper is quite interesting and has a lot of further references.

online 16 December 2011
Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency 2013 50: 53 originally published
Alex R. Piquero, Wesley G. Jennings and David Farrington
“The Monetary Costs of Crime to Middle Adulthood : Findings from the Cambridge Study in Delinquent Development”.

Aggregate total costs of crime (in the United States) have been estimated to be between $1 and $2 trillion (O’Brien 2010), which is likely an underestimate of the total costs because this includes only known crimes and excludes many whitecollar/corporate crimes whose costs are in the mid-billions to low trillions.

The language that had me confused was this:

It is estimated that a male high-rate chronic offender on average would impose an annual cost of £18 ($29) per U.K. citizen or a lifetime cost of £742 ($1,185) per U.K. citizen.

However, pushing on, it seems there are nearly 778 thousand (2.5% of the male population) of these high-rate chronic offenders amongst us at any time.  On self-reported crime they claim nearly 40 offences for one recorded.  I could not establish how many of them are in jail at any given time – but the proportion must be low when we only have 87,000 banged up from our total population.

Back of a fag packet style let’s say just short of 40,000 of them are banged up – that’s about a 20th of them or 5%.  If we really are cutting crime in this group and all the others, it seems we lack information on why.




Crime May Not Be Falling At All

The number of people in prison has more or less doubled since 1993.  Police recorded crime has more or less halved in this period.  The linked document gives some of the reasons for the rise in the prison population.  The only one that seems to matter is that courts are trying more serious offences against the person.

One can understand that creeps in prison have less chance to commit crimes against us and so crime might drop, but wouldn’t we expect the drop in crime to lead to lower volumes through courts and caution systems at some point?  In some ways one might expect declining crime to lead to a declining prison population, those on probation, doing community service and so on.  One might also expect the recidivist population to decline too.  Judging on what happens in the courts this isn’t true.

In 2011/2012 68,100 out of 108,119 offenders with more than 15 previous convictions, some 62.9%, received a penalty other than prison. This was compared to 49,729 in 2006/07, an increase of 38%.

So with crime declining year on year the prison population and the numbers of recidivists getting non-custodial sentences is rising.  The number of convictions offenders have is rising a lot too, with 44% having 15 or more on the rap sheet.

There has been a fall in out of court disposals (cautions, fixed penalties).  I don’t get fussy about precision until I think I have a correlation model.  I can’t get past the notion that a real fall in crime should lead to a fall in criminals being convicted.  Clearly this may not be a straightforward relation, as banging up recidivists might well reduce crime while the useless creeps are banged up.

I know police crime stats are juked – they always were.  All developed countries show a big drop since around 2000 and no doubt nodding, skewing, cuffing and fitting play a role.  Performance management itself has been on the rise in the public sector and a lot of pressure is put on the people doing it year on year.  One of my old universities simply lied on the employment figures for its graduates (it was me who taught the poor sod with no data how to do this – pick a figure just above the national average and work the spreadsheet backwards – they still do this).

The way police figures are going we will have no crime in 12 years.  One would suspect there must be a point at which the prisons would be empty of all but lifers and the few bobbies left fighting over rescuing kittens from trees.  This, of course, isn’t going to happen.

With crime down roughly 50% it seems amazing our cops have got so good at finding it that they are still getting as many crooks as ever in front of the courts or other means of disposal – after all you might think they would only have half the opportunities to spot bodies to nick.  My own thief taking was pretty random and I suspect would have dropped more than half with only half the opportunities (one gives up through boredom) – at least in uniform.  So where does the steady stream of jail fodder come from and why do they have more convictions than ever on arrest?

If we have more criminals committing less crime one would expect them to have fewer convictions on arrest.  Given the idiots who commit most crime we might expect doubling the prison population to reduce crime by 50% – though this assumes one scumbag is not simply replaced by another.  On this “model” doubling the prison population again would more or less eradicate crime.

Criminals inside don’t commit crime in society – that’s rock solid.  So twice as many locked up might be a fit with a 50% reduction in crime.  But what is the relation between the actual criminal population size and the relevant prison population?  I doubt we ever have half of them banged up.  Say it’s one in ten and we double that.  All of a sudden the ratios collapse in any simple form – we still have 80% of them in society instead of 90% – so crime would drop only 10% or so on the simple model.  Of course, those left among us might be substantially deterred – but we should remember recidivists are slow learners if they learn at all.

Remember, many corporations increase profits and top manager earnings simply through accounting devices and tax stealing through offshore transfer pricing and offshoring jobs to gain global wage arbitrage.  Police accounting is quite possibly as bent.

It makes sense to me that the availability of criminals to bang up and otherwise dispose of (I like the term ‘dispose’) is because there is plenty of crime.  There is certainly enough for the criminals themselves to have bigger rap sheets than in the past (up from 9 convictions to 15 in a few years).

One needs a dynamic model of crime to know whether it is going up or down.  I work with statistics for a living and intend no unpaid overtime here.  The production of a decent model is someone else’s job.  i’d want paying.  The question is why some overpaid ex-student of mine in some government department or criminologist hasn’t produced such a model.  There will be work comparing police recorded crime with the British Crime Survey – but both of these are subject to abuse, the latter done on the cheap.

There is clearly a point at which, if crime is really falling, there will be few criminals left to catch and a fall in jail numbers and those in front of courts or otherwise disposed.  This is obvious before we get clever with numbers.  In the States they’ve been jailing people for fun, personal profit and generally being black or brown.  Their cops have been reducing crime figures for years too and their prison population is four or five times ours – without reaching the obvious mutual decline above.

I don’t know at this stage what I would include in a crime model spreadsheet – what I have in mind would render the BCS obsolete and be much cheaper.  Essentially we need to correlate police figures with courts, jails, probation and money estimates of crime.  We could create an online BCS-type check.  Anyway no one is paying me so I’ll just say my guess from police, court/other disposal and jail figures is that 43 chief constables are lying to us about crime.  And the government is wasting loads of our money producing useless figures.

We should really expect crime to rise because of austerity, pressure on welfare and immigration (French cops hate Romanians).  I’ve used approximations here,  but what I’m saying in principle holds.

I’d take recording crime out of police hands – after all its mostly clerical-routine – this would partly stop the gaming-juking – but also improve service delivery.  I don’t normally like privatisation but a bit of customer choice might be good on ringing the law.  Nah! Scrap that – they’d start trying to sell us life insurance.  We could try something like this:

Crime might just be down because we have most of the prolific offenders in prison – if this is the case we’d expect it hard for cops to reduce crime much further.  A pile of considerations can be found here:

The latest ONS – in which I discovered BS is now CSEW is here and says the crime drop is real:,5

The ONS work does point to some of the problems in believing police recorded crime from a different tack than Steve Bennett.  While it isn’t hard to believe crime will fall by banging crooks up, we need more sophisticated analysis.  I’d start by asking the criminals.  I know they are lying bastards but there are ways.  That and the cops on the line.  A small straw poll suggests criminal activity is moving – from burglary (too risky) to borrowing from shops and stealing cash in public places.

Towards The Ending Of The Economic Undead (part two)

So let’s imagine ourselves as detectives with lots of reports of toil-earned jewels being stolen and the rich being found with bulging bags of them.  If these were real jewels we might be able to rely on forensics to establish these were the same jewels.  If they were nicking cash we might have the serial numbers or have marked the stuff with Smart Water.

Now possession of stolen goods isn’t per se a crime and certainly doesn’t mean the people found with them actually nicked them.  You have to knowingly be in possession of stolen goods for the crime of ‘handling’ and something has to fit you to the theft, burglary or robbery for a conviction on those particular grounds.. English law requires an illegal act (actus reus) and guilty knowledge (mens rea).  This is not as simple as it sounds, but is enough for these purposes.

The possession of great wealth or large numbers of toil-jewels is not an offence, but in our metaphor stealing other people’s wealth or toil jewels would be, as would being in possession of stolen wealth or toil-jewels even if you bought them at such a price a reasonable person would have thought them stolen (‘handling’ is more complicated, but again this will suffice).

Now we could imagine our rich, vestigial virgins of our society that they are, would just cough to the stealing or unlawful possession. We’d more likely be drowned in a flood of lawyers.  Toil-jewels are as untraceable as Bitcoin or boxes of cash in Kabul.  This kind of near dead end even happens in pedal cycle theft.  This rich might fob us off with a story that they produced the toil-jewels through a toil-jewel engine or their superior skills, knowledge and productivity.  This is, if you think about it, pretty much what they say about their bulging wealth.

The ‘New Untouchables’ (us as detectives) don’t give up that easily.  ‘Show us the toil-jewel engine, let is measure your toil jewel output’, we’d say.  What’s the chance the rich could show and tell?  It’s possible they might amaze us by producing something as efficient as a tractor when all we’d known was a man-drawn plough.  Years ago, as a fit rugby player and young man, I went peat digging.  My new mates were 40 to 50 years of age and were still drinking ling after I went to bed in the pub I stayed in.  The following day I was working at half their production rate and knackered after an hour.  I was used to digging footings and other construction site work.  They were great blokes and passed on their skills and I almost got to stand at the end of a finished line sharing a tab by the end of my 6 weeks.  They wouldn’t hear of me being paid less, but I never got up to their output. They reckoned it took nearly a year, not that anyone had been brought on for a decade.  Some people can produce more toil-jewels than others.

So we have found these rich people with shed loads of toil-jewels.  If you check up on wealth you cannot be find that most of the world’s wealth is in the hands of very few. Really, only carrots and turnips should need to be told where to look.  It’s a good idea to write down what you think the score is before visiting ONS on even the on-line CIA world-facts book.  I’d recommend looking through posts at Leftbanker, because I don’t keep facts like this in my head.  We know where the toil-jewels are, but we can’t lift any bodies for the ‘crime’ or establish, yet, there has been one.

I’m reminded a bit of the old jokes my elder brother used to tell me.  There’s this bloke who works in Customs and everyday he sees a guy wheel a wheelbarrow-load of straw through his post.  He pulls apart the straw everyday, and everyday for years he finds nothing.  He knows this bastard is up to something, and pulls his hair out trying to work out what.  After 40 years he starts to pull his pension.  He meets the guy outside the post on his first day off, explains he no longer works for customs, and ask him, for pity’s sake, to tell him what he’s been smuggling all these years.  “Wheelbarrows”, says the bloke.

Most of us would regard people who do twice as much real work as us as entitled to twice the reward for their efforts.  There are examples where this won’t be true as in the ‘Tragedy of the Commons‘ – where their extra effort might deplete our share (look it up – we are doing this with the planet).  Even this thinking is probably flawed.  But let’s not get too complicated – we’re cops not piss poor human rights lawyers getting unsupervised access for a paedophile to his kids.

What can we do to make toil-jewels identifiable so they can remain with rightful owners and allow us to bang up bastards stealing them or otherwise coming by them illegally and being able to hang on to them? We generally expect our cops to catch the scum who nick our stuff, get it back and bang up the perpetrators.  If this idea is a bit mythical, we understand what it’s about and why we have law.  The amounts at stake in this kind of crime are very small compared with those in the general ‘distribution of wealth’.

The rich are almost ‘bang to rights’ in that we have caught them in possession of nearly all the wealth or toil-jewels.  At today’s rates my peat digging was minimum wage – about £5 an hour; an hour’s lecturing is about £35.  This looks like a 1:7 ratio but in income terms it’s nearer 1:2 (dig 40 hrs/week for 48 weeks – lecture 10hrs/week for 40 weeks).  Back in peat digging times, winning rugby pay was £37.50 and losing pay £8.00.  We were so bad in the first quarter of the season I’d have had to play three times a week to make my digging money!  Won the league the next year and I made three times my income as a cop.  I digress – must be all the digging!

Most of us know why we have law in the general sense, but why are we so non-curious and knowledgeable on the ‘mechanisms of toil-jewel distribution’?  We are very pissed when the products we buy with our toil-jewels are nicked; yet seem no so moved by another form of the removal of our toil-jewels.

The Scottish diggers came to see me play; apparently a reward from my distant uncle who ran the operation.  Winning pay didn’t cover the bar bill.  I was, as is the case in Stone Age economists like me, returning what I could of their gift, given without obligation and inevitably honoured.  I had no pigs and only a sister to offer for marriage!  She would smile, knowing I’d rather die.

If you look at the total wealth and earnings of the bottom decile in Britain and then at what we standardly regard as ‘crime’ you won’t find many of the toil-jewels.  These are in the province of the top 20%.  What if they are amassing them through theft and fraud?  Or even something less criminal we still would regard as something we would not authorise?

What we do know is that they legitimate their holdings of toil-jewels.  Those of us who have heard scum legitimating their crimes are not generally impressed.  We do not, at least technically, allow the rich special excuses on either crime or wider morality.  We seem to have few problems regarding benefit recipients with disgust, and they get a tiny fraction of our toil-jewels.  This seems strange when we don’t have the same regard for those taking nearly all of them.

The rich tell us that toil-jewels are traded in a legitimate market and that’s how they get hold of so many of them.  This is more or less the real-world argument on wealth.  But we’re in metaphor-world.  Toil-jewels are a direct product of real toil and represent labour-value that can only be added to human beings starting equal.  Note this can’t happen in the real-world as some people start out with wealth.

In areas near the ‘peat farm’, Scots had once been tenant farmers on the better land for 500 years before they were evicted by the land-owners and forced into new industries like going to sea in open boats to fish. They were replaced by sheep.  This economic reasoning was defeated by ‘Australia’.  Keep this in mind for later.

Toil-jewels are produced all over the world.  Let’s say in sum that they represent all work done that needs doing.  If this sum amount is divided by all the people who do this work on a reasonable equitable basis and could not be accumulated beyond a limit of ten times a year’s average production by a particular toiler (otherwise reverting to common holding), anyone in possession of shed loads would hold them illegally.  This is clearly not the case with real-world wealth. .

We have, of course, long given up on labour-value theories and practice in economics. But remember, the rich often say they work hard for their wealth or are so smart what they work at is so much more valuable than what the rest of us shit.  They only say this for the consumption of us plebs or maybe in some conscience salving.  The peat diggers were good enough to tell me I was a better rugby league hooker (winger then) than any of them and I marked myself at half a peat digger.  You don;t get chance to try your hand as a rich bastard or Queen.  I’d be the best King ever, simply by abolishing the monarchy.  The point here, if you’re thinking about the oxygen rights of this windbag, is that as detectives in this metaphor-world, we are going to be denied a lot of practical tests that scientists devise as experiments.

In the real-world there is a kind of toil-jewel.  If all the money in the world disappeared overnight we could still be productive.  We would do the toil necessary to survive – we don’t eat money, shelter under it or (with exceptions) engage in sex because of it.  The toil jewel is directly related to this.

The rich say they have either bought the toil jewels we’ve caught them with or somehow produced them through superior toil-jewel making properties they possess.  Sadly, we have not been able to Smart Water the jewels as the stuff doesn’t take on them.  There is no way to identify them for identification purposes.

Real-world detectives deal with a lot of unidentified stolen property.  Finding the 90 inch plasma on the wall in some munter’s flat, visited after nicking him for burglary, the excuse that she bought it from a friend for twenty quid or a door-to-door salesman without a receipt isn’t going to wash.  Are the words of the rich concerning their possession of the toil-jewels worth any more consideration?  Whatever the munter tells us we will put to the test.  Her sister gave it her – so we go to the sister (if there is one) and she says no or has to explain where she got it.  The ’20 quid excuse’ just gets her nicked and perhaps even the chummy who sold it to her.  She’s screwed, though one hopes not literally as in Terry Sneed cases!

I’ll leave the toil-jewel case now – but we can gather from it the questions we should be asking about the wealth of the rich.  In the US, people who have riches they can’t account for and haven’t paid due tax on can go to jail.  That’s how Al Capone was nicked.  I haven’t made much clear, but detectives need to work in uncertainty.  We need to loosen up in metaphor to get into interrogation not stacked with the mundane.

I’m fairly smart though occasionally so dumb it’s embarrassing.  I can manipulate equations and do most sums I come across if I’m bothered, which is rare these days.  The answers don’t lie in ‘intercoursing Gaussian copulas’.  Outside of a few fields in real science this is all ‘Sooty’s Magic Wand’ (Sooty was a UK yellow glove puppet with a brilliantly dumb mate called Sweep who was the only one who really knew what was going on – an old mate and I used to teach industrial relations using them).

If we could produce toil-jewels we wouldn’t need economics and might well be a lot happier.  There are academic ideas around now we should be turning into a new economics.  To do this means pulling down the existing system in which the rich get nearly everything and this ‘nearly everything’ itself is largely a crock of what we don’t need.  Some of this is utterly disgusting, like getting rich in order to be able to afford to be on a beach in Kenya so you can shag the children of someone so poor the kid does it to support them – and some of us can tell real tales of this happening much closer to home.

We can’t even (generally – I know some detectives who have had limited success with fraud gangs) trace crime money in the simple sense of drugs, rackets and major blags – the estimate is about a trillion.  Or capital flight from poor countries where some despot or set of kleptocruds get hold of aid and loan money and send it to “Switzerland”.  My own detective suspicion is much of this never reaches Mugabe (whomever) and is trousered by the banksters – how could they be so dumb as to keep up this kind of ‘lending’ over decades of the same old criminal-business-as-usual.  Even my own institutions have trousered (admittedly to central university funds) cash from my hard-won research and project bids.  I would have to buy my project equipment at double and thrice the market price from approved suppliers.  I once thought this must be direct trousering in the form of bribes to corrupt vice-chancellors, but actually what happens is the suppliers send an end of year discount back to the university central fund.  Hardly simple accounting.  And you end up asking academics to do extra work in this process for book-tokens  You end up keeping a few people employed but never really being able to use the money to stimulate anything, let alone economic growth,

Economics is now a matter of legalising stealing by the rich.  I say this like a burned out cop trying to pin down the villains fueled by booze.and hatred of bureaucracy who has let his personal life go to hell.  In the mainstream we get Harvard professors of very little morality and over-conservatised brains discussing whether Wayne Rooney and other lottery winners deserve their “pay”.  The discussion is as self-absorbed as anything ‘Greek’ – gas that passes from good food and living based on slavery.  The question itself is morally corrupt.  What would Rooney be ‘worth’ if he played for an average wage and was devoted to changing lives in poverty with the rest?  Maybe the poor sods being kept as slaves by travelers in Merrie Olde England?

Economics makes one in six Americans poor.  Education has been no answer.  I cringe when politicians bloat out crap on highly skilled jobs and the knowledge society.  I’ve tried beyond anything that could be expected for some students, found ESN-branded kids in projects and turned the odd one to university level – but I know I’ll struggle even with my grandson – there’s usually not much you can do.  The peat diggers were men stout and true and out of school as soon as they could.  What ‘education’ (considerable) went into to producing them?  Or Irish, English and Chinese navvies who could outwork three men?

What we do today is make up loads of unnecessary work and urge people to be self-sufficient, hard-working and loads of other stuff where there is no field of endeavour that can educate them -schools and university are only of use in this sense for those equipped for the learning on offer in schools and universities.

There is work to be done and education to be had from doing it.  To get to this we need to stop the rich and the system of indenture to them that is economics.  A young woman came into my office when I was teaching in a third-rate English university, threw her arms around me and gave me a kiss.  I asked why?  She said she’d come to the place expecting a business degree to get her a BMW.  I had apparently taught her that was stupid, she wasn’t and she was joining the police force.  The majority (despite the university’s claims) end up in dull jobs they don’t like and could have done on leaving school.  They are now paying for this privilege, indentured to the tune of around £50K and much more if you count the loss of three year’s earnings and a job record I would find more impressive than a degree as an employer.

When we get into the detective investigation of the rich in part three, I believe we will find evidence the rich are ‘stealing souls’.



Starting Again On Public Sector Statistics?

Talk on police or any performance management ‘statistics’ often turns to their gaming element. I live in a supposedly ‘beacon’ council area with departments like social services ‘achieving’ three-star status and ‘sector-leading’ housing association that ‘replaced’ the Council’s role in housing. In reality, I live on the edge of a dying town and doubt much round here is being done well.  I have seen improvements in the NHS care I need, but most of the rest doesn’t seem adequate and often misses the boat altogether.

The term ‘statistics’ is associated with science, but what we are getting is performance management and there is little science in them.  Even in academe, statistics are routinely fiddled because on one of its performance management criteria – the peer reviewed publication.  Simple stats are used when more complex forms are needed to establish genuine statistical differences.  Ben Goldacre suggests this is the case in half of papers in psychology.  I believe the situation is worse – as most papers with statistical method in them don’t need it at all – there is no point establishing statistical significance in the bleedin’ obvious.  Whist academics write this spurious drivel they ain’t doing what we need from them.

It’s difficult to justify the keeping of annual lists of the numbers of certain crimes if there isn’t much we can do to reduce, prevent and detect the crime people don’t want to experience.  Steve Bennett has done more than any academic I know to point out the gaming problems and we lack a forum to get the real problems expressed in a manner that could really count.  Indeed, we conflate critical evaluation methods with criticism of the police and other bodies.  This runs across the board in our society.  Modern research, based in experiment, has found that whilst we lay claim to welcome innovative ideas, we actually despise creativity, and those trying get the ad hominem in the neck.

The banking industry is a glaring example of the kind of false-accounting that is going on.  The ‘maths’ involved becomes a way of hiding problems instead of expressing them.  We clearly have a system that loses money hand over fist, yet lays claim to have expertise that must be rewarded for its performance.  I’m sorry, but you can play out of your skin and have to take losing pay.

I think we should stop performance management techniques as far as possible and ban the labeling of such as statistics.  Across industry they don’t keep people honest in the way a tackle count (now a complex of modalities) does in rugby league – the tackles become virtual and derivitised to the point we can’t be sure any were ever made.  It’s a bit like telling your coach you didn’t make any in the game, but the hundred on your pillow or in dreams should count – or including toe-nail clipping as an operation.

It is important to know that burglaries are falling, but it’s much more important to establish why this is the case – what any drop or rise is correlated with.  Beyond this, burglary is poorly defined in terms of what matters to me and you, as many other things affect our wealth.  I’m reasonably insured against it and it isn’t a major threat to my wealth and well-being.  The banksters have been a much greater threat to our wealth and democracy. Having to live near druggie, noisy, recidivist scum affects the quality of life of those it’s forced on much more seriously than burglary threat.

Good statistics would be expressed in spreadsheets that anyone could use in promoting public debate.  This is rare.  One thought that crosses my mind is whether the reductions in certain major categories of crime across the West mean anything much beyond us being able to do ‘something’ through focus on these problems.  One problem is that we have no control to measure against, but the lack of a convenient world that otherwise stands still outside our interventions is unavoidable.

One can imagine experiments we could do on typical petty crime.  We could give Bill the burglar £50K a year and send him to university, or even do this with ten evil poor families on one estate and compare them with similar areas with no intervention – I take it a sour taste is arising in you too.  This sounds ludicrous until one realises we ‘credibly’ spend much more in family rehabilitation schemes – then one wonders on the incredulity of what we are actually doing.  What I mean by this type of experiment is that we should be thinking through what links we should be looking for and using research methods we can take to approximate to control ideas.  This is an area of public functional illiteracy.

What we need is not complex mathematical schemes – these are usually the problem.  I can set fairly easy financial problems undergraduates mostly can’t do in class, yet they all appear to be able to do if I issue an out of class assignment – they copy and cheat in the main.  In academic quality assessments I’ve seen departments go from rubbish to excellent just by getting in a performance manager prepared to do the paperwork needed.  Something beyond this kind of bureaucratic lunacy is needed – and indeed the lunacy needs to go.  The QAA collapsed academic standards, though the industry could not see it needed to change.

We need some thinking from the ground up.  No manufacturer is interested in performance statistics that don’t relate to costs, sales and quality.  Trying to transfer techniques from even one related industry sector to another can be difficult and check-list approaches from a generic source usually fail.  We can be smarter than this and we don’t need maths, covariants or Gaussian copulas.  We need something we can’t cheat and we think is useful and fair.  Instead, we are beholden to loads of unnecessary dross that promotes glib argument and political manipulation.  To a scientist, it’s like being stuck having to skew results to suit a dud political theory like a geneticist working for Stalin.

Much as we want thieving druggies to ‘shape up’, we need to understand the effects of an economic system we can’t use to provide enough coppers and other resources like jobs they can do to change the environment around them and the one they grow in.  What difference a couple of trillion wasted on banksters we don’t know, precisely because we keep ourselves ‘free’ of realistic statistics.  Where are the comparisons between what it’s like to live and crime in Sweden, Norway and Britain?  Where is any straightforward statement on crime and immigration?  My burglary was paid for by insurance, but not the much worse financial and quality of life loss of having scum dumped next door.  I lost more in loan insurance ‘legally’ extracted by the bank than in the burglary.  In we had real statistics we’d know more about what crime is and what to do about it.

Every scheme of data recording I’ve seen has been a pain in the arse to use.  In police recording cases could be entered into databases that would print off charge sheets, self-duplicate for secure storage and be interrogation friendly.  The work in data entry should not be an additional burden.  Yet in our incompetence it always is.  Last time I was involved (5 years ago), detectives still had to lug cardboard boxes full of original statements to court, when these were digitised.  We should not try any substantial changes before addressing ‘quill and ink’ attitudes.

Slavery in Modern Britain

Some can only doff one’s hat in the direction of our cops when they pull off a raid that releases poor people from chronic treatment from travelers and its particularly find this going on.  One can only express admiration and wish it was stamped out across the globe – which sadly it isn’t.

The Secret Life of the Evil Poor (part one)

The following story is true, though written in anonymous form.  It’s about gutter scum in broken Britain.  I suspect if your life is blighted by close proximity of such scrote, that you will discover the authorities you previously thought ‘dealt’ with such matters are a bunch of incompetent arseholes and even worse than the scum (on the grounds the scum are usually ill-educated, low IQ no-hopers and people like your MP, cops, housing workers and social services should at least know what they are doing and give a damn).

You can get some clue about scrote in academic books and papers.  This isn’t my preferred route as the material is expensive and most people don’t access it.  I can assure you this story is in there.  I was an academic for a long time and don’t see this culture as likely to do anything worthwhile other than for its own members.

I was a middle class boy, the son of a headmaster who left school himself at 13.  Like many people who taught me, he’d survived WW2 and done some half-assed teacher training, some of which had been delivered in Latin.  They were a good lot and I remember his staff and my own teachers with gratitude.  I was never a good student, though near the top of my grammar school classes.  Various cock-ups led me into the police.

We can think of the story starting when I entered the first council house I’d ever been in.  It was a total shock to discover people living like this, even though most of my undergraduate accommodation had been crap and I’d been born a backstreet kid.  My parents were weird, but they’d loved and fed me.  This was a different world, though a minority one even amongst financial poverty.  ‘Husbands’ and ‘wives’ beat each other and their kids, the sexual ‘morality’ made my undergrad years look tame and the world was violent.  There were ‘riots’ centred on the town bus station every now and then and very few of us to cope with it.  The young hoods didn’t disguise themselves and quickly succumbed to factory work, joined the Army or sailed off with the Harrison Line.  I soon discovered most people I dealt with were actually rather decent, given the chance. There were a few ‘families’ and criminal elements that were not.

The same is true in the street I live in now.   The book I could write on Dirty Mary’s brothel (a corner council house), the drug gangs, illegal boozing and shagging dens and the bandits who joy-rided, burgled, shop-lifted, weighed in roof lead, screwed their daughters  and the rest could be written by a modern cop.  See the Night Jack archives or Inspector Gadget when she’s describing action and not trying to put cops above the law. My shift played hard, on and off the job.  The work was made unnecessarily hard by a rotten culture.  Some cops were bent, some actors in Horses Arse, the fictional GMO Division I’m sure I worked,  One colleague was arrested for burglary and turned out to have a previous conviction for such, which should have been impossible.  Later, others were on the take in incidents involving a night club which never had a justices’ licence. I never got to trust drug-squad detectives, but overall we were an honest bunch of sick puppies.

Fiction probably gives a better feel for this world than any sociology I’ve read, but two or three episodes of The Sweeny is a career.  The dull, boring and repetitive nature of police work is impossible to sell.  Much the same is true of the gutter scum lives I’ve been studying for the last 10 years – this is not my sole pursuit and I would be deranged if it was. Joseph Wambaugh and Charlie Owen give some clues along with Irving Welsh.  The Wire, The Shield, Spiral, Cops and Shameless get somewhere towards the right track, but the real story is too bleak to tell.

It is easy enough to paint the picture of people who ‘exchange’ their daughters to buy drink and drugs as miserable scum.  What is more difficult is to get at why they remain such a problem for people around them for so long, and persist in their pathetic, vile, criminal lives, making the problem generational.  Looking at the then 3 year old son of two scum who centre my story, my friend turned away, nearly in tears.  It was obvious to both of us the kid was already doomed.  Yet this was not obvious to the bent police inspector covering-up repeated failures by his officers, or the housing or social workers (it was, in private to one of them).  The kid, six years on, is described as ‘an empty space’ by his peers or ‘dead brain’.  We tried to save him, but it was pointless.  Easy enough to blame his scum parents, but what was going on was so obvious it is not enough.  The authorities gone mad and our weird economy for the rich plays its grinding grim part.  What chance has a kid left with parents with endless drink, drugs, mental health and criminal recidivism got?  Looking back, I could have made more difference writing a business plan for their drugs and shoplifting activities in the hope more ‘income’ would have made a difference!  They are gone from the street now and the quality of life here is immeasurably improved.  A family nearly died because the authorities were so useless, but there is no follow-up to ‘learn lessons’.

One answer to the scrote problem is a cull.  We’d do this in a farmed animal community.  I don’t approve, but this solution was popular in the 1920’s and 30’s.  What we need is a proper description of the scrote and a proper description of what is done to control them by the authorities, and how we might instigate beneficial changes and what interests lie in making real change and those involved in maintaining the status quo.

To really understand scrote you need to try living next door to a set.  This is bad, but there’s worse – the areas dominated by them.  The shortages of volunteers for my living amongst scrote project tells us something about our existing regard for them.  Let’s face it we do jobs we don’t like to buy houses in areas where their kids don’t get to go to school. We already know something about them and what they do to the lives of others around them.  Every taxi driver knows about scrote.  Passing some council area regeneration programme that has made some clapped out row of shops presentable, they will mutter ‘it would be better if they did something about the scrotes’. You know – yet if I ask you how many there are you won’t know.  I don’t, though I’ve read some figures.

How many of our population do things like sex-exchanging their kids for a fix, or grows them to the kind of rioters we’ve seen recently, or live so noisily no one can live near them and so on?  What can you get done about them if they are moved in near you – increasingly likely in the shortage of social housing and increasing private rental sector?  We may not have precise answers, but we know enough to want to earn enough to be away from them.  This should raise moral questions, though I hear few of them.  I suspect this lack of morality is the real reason people like Fiona Pilkington have their lives destroyed and many others can’t get an even break.  We presumably expect our evil poor not be be in the top 50% of wealth owners and the top 50% own 93% of all the country’s wealth.  We presumably don’t think scrote own much of the wealth of the bottom 50% either.  We can conclude the evil poor are negligible in terms of wealth.  Some of us might well think half our population is if it only owns 7%.

Let’s say the scrote are the bottom 10% in wealth terms – that’s one in ten of our population.  Too high, I’d guess?  The point is laboured enough – they are decidedly fractional in wealth terms.  I suspect there are ways to establish a fairly exact number for the evil poor.  It’s important in defining them to understand they own almost nothing and that this doesn’t mean all of them are broke.  They are competing for scarce wealth resources with almost half the rest of our population that owns very little – the battle is going on in only 7% of UK wealth.  This makes them even bigger bastards in my book – they are perverting the system for the majority of our poorest.  In the UK the top 20% of households earn 16 times that of the poorest 20% – so we can assume scrote don’t trouble the scorer much on income as well as wealth.

Of course, if these bastards did own anything, the legal or benefits systems might well want to take it off them.  It’s obvious they aren’t cornering the country’s wealth and won’t be much more than a pimple on a flea’s back in terms of holding the economy back in any straightforward way.  Hate them for real, but don’t blame them for our advance towards banana republic status.

What other resources might scrote consume and steal from others as surely as they ‘borrow from shops’?  Nearly all of them are stealing from a benefit system they have never contributed to, but there are questions about whether many of them are fit for work in the normal sense.  It is clear that they consume social housing or housing benefit, general benefits, legal aid and all kinds of social work, police, prison, probation, charity and whatever they can steal or defraud.  I have no doubt this is an enormous problem, yet it is also small in comparison from what the rich siphon off.  It may be argued the rich earn their corn, but this is crap and we need to disabuse ourselves of this myth.  My own contention is that if we gave every scrote a million quid to leave the UK we’d be better off, but also find the bastards back in a year broke and begging again. If their are half-a-million evil poor families the cost would be 500,000 million or 500 billion or half a trillion.  How much did we bail the banks out for or what do the rich pay themselves every year? The UK’s richest 1000 people have about half a trillion in wealth.  We could probably get rid of our scrote for half of that.  If you think giving scrote families a million to fuck right off is stupid, ask yourself why we spend such huge amounts on some of them without the result of not seeing them again!

Let’s start back in my story, with Samuel and Sally Scrote moved into the other half of the semi-detached I lived in.  My partner had bought her council house when she had good neighbours.  Now who were Sam and Sally before they were moved in?  Decent hard-working people, disabled or otherwise ‘deserving’ – well no, they were well-know local thugs and drug-dealers.  Base-ball bats had been used in their previous ‘eviction’ from a house half-a-mile away, where the terrified neighbours through noise abuse, violence, constant domestic violence and visits from their colleagues in the drug industry.  I was working abroad and came home to find all our neighbours had complained.  When I went to the housing association to ask why they had moved such a pair of criminal shits in, I was told the woman had been a council tenant before, paid the rent and been no trouble. This turned out to be a lie.  Neither had ever been council tenants before.  This was the first example of the kind of lying and incompetence typical of the authorities.  The only answer if you are caught like this is to move.  I’ll explain why in part two and develop the ethnography of scrote economics further, as Sam and Sally sell their daughters into prostitution and we discover they are not standard 75 IQ evil poor.  At this IQ you are as dumb or smart as my dog and the average IQ of people passing through police interview rooms is 82 (that’s the bottom class in a bad comprehensive level).

Bill The Burglar

I’d just finished fiddling with the replacement power supply unit for my computer and fired the thing up again when my attention was drawn to noise across the street.  I’d had a hard time with the beast and lost track of time.  It was 2 a.m.  Bill the Burglar seems to be active around this time, with a newly cultivated mate who has a small car.  The mate turns up fairly regularly, leaving the engine running, making enough noise to wake me up. Tonight, they arrived together and unloaded fairly heavy material from the boot, carrying it round the back of the house.  Noisy jerks, for burglars, and tonight the chum was ‘knackered’ and clunked off after the drop.

Bill is in and out of prison and has lived round here for 40 years – he used to burgle dwellings – most round here had a visit – and these days has a penchant for whatever ASDA leaves near the door.  There’s a ‘wife’ and three kids, probably another on the way. He’s on police bail and likely to go down again soon.  They are living in the house while it’s up for sale.  Pity, in a way, we didn’t have riots here, as it’s hard to imagine he could have resisted and thus attracted the firm action his persistent criminal activities don’t.

Local police are onto him but I wonder how widespread the ‘Bill the Burglar phenomenon’ is and what we could learn from a detailed elaboration of it.  In this particular case there is Bill and his long-term recidivism, the woman, a druggie, the kids and a network that includes her decent mother and a range of criminal and agency involvement.  I suspect the wider story stands in contrast to the success stories of police statistics and crime fighting conferences.

We Could Do Better On Crime Statistics

This is a link to a thoughtful criticism of Canadian crime statistics – worth a read for ideas on what might be wrong with ours and statistics generally.

Crime has been coming down across most of the EU, Britain, the USA and Canada for a decade.  Citizens generally don’t believe this to be the case.  Yet some of the crime that is down would be hard to dispute – homicide volume is the classic.  It’s hard to think cops around the world have become adept at hiding the bodies.

My own street has been almost completely peaceful since the removal of a dire couple of druggies who have caused trouble in spades wherever they have lived and continue to do so where they are now.  Prison makes no difference, except in the time they are off the street.  In the US people like them spend more time in jail.  Removing them from our society and their children might reduce our crime a great deal and prevent the ‘generational effect’.  Decent statistics (partly as argued in the Canadian article) would give us a clear idea.  The guess is that about 100,000 of these bastard homes exist.  If the significance of each is as strong as the one once next to us and getting rid of them as significant, then incarceration would make a massive difference, unless others would just emerge in the wake.  This could be tested too.

One reason given for the drop in US crime has been legalised abortion – the likely criminals getting an early death sentence.  Crude as this seems we should pursue a structuralist analysis of our offenders.

Across the world, the purpose of police statistics seems to be to tell the public crime is falling.  It’s pretty obvious from education to banking that false-accounting is rife, as is image management.

Police are presumably better organised and using better technology than ever before – this may be building a genuine deterrent effect or set of them.  My feeling is  crime is actually shifting, just as my former neighbours moved and into new categories.  Insurance rates against crime are not falling.  The statisticians don’t deal us a full deck.