When Will The Lying – From Police Statistics to the Economy Stop?

Plato wrote seven books on the training of people supposed to look after society – his Guardians.  I gave up after The Republik – you can get this free on line.  My rating of even this famous tome is dross – somewhere below a Zimbabwean high interest bond.  Students never came into my business maths modules to learn the maths and understand the limited application of such.  They were instrumental, after a piece of paper that would help them get a job.  They restricted their in class learning to being able to do the sums set in tests, not unlike the cops and others in ‘diversity training’ and other hapless nonsense learn ‘correct speak’.

Police statistics across the developed world show a consistent drop in crime.  Cops know there is really an increase in crime.  I’ve heard many comment that the burglars become ‘borrowers from  shops’, that there is a massive increase in fraud, the war on drugs is lost and so on.  What makes sense of the repeated claims that crime is dropping is a proper understanding of “performance management” – and ultimately the old Soviet style of performance management has taken over our societies.  Can you really say the word “targets” these days without wanting to spit?

Not long ago we were being told a new knowledge society was being formed – the left denounced this decades ago as a “risk society” and critique of mainstream neo-liberal, neo-classical and neo-con (there is no alternative) buffoonery stretches back more than a century.  Critique largely comes from people on sinecures of one form or another and largely fails to engage the population at large.

Pretty much any complex formal reasoning is beyond most of our population.  Universal education has largely failed in this respect.  I know plenty of people who can spot that police statistics lie and that bankers lie about their systems and the personal brilliance and risk taking through which they merit vast bonuses.  It is also easy to dismiss cops struggling in the day-to-day lunacy of the Swamp, Reservation and Everglades who believe ACPO are pathetic, careerist pen-pushers (think NHS, Care, Banks too).  This is “envy” or the attitude of malcontents.  The Catch 22 is that to avoid being envious or malcontent one must produce soundly argued critique and any such critique is broadly wasted because the population won’t be able to understand it.  Hence ‘dictatorships of the proletariat’ and other unimpressive top-down solutions that first require proles run towards bullets.

Most banks across the world have undergone ‘stress tests’ since the crash.  Banks in Cyprus passed theirs 18 months back and are now clearly worth as many multiples of a bag of rocking horse droppings needed to produce a big, fat, zero.  The UK and USA are very similar on the debt front on household, corporate and government debt per capita.  The UK has vastly higher financial sector debt.  I have seen no public exhibition on whether this financial sector debt is a good or bad thing, or even whose money is involved or at risk.  I can say, on the other debt, that a 30% wealth tax would put the UK and USA to rights  (i.e bring household, corporate and government debt to the supposedly optimal 180% of GDP).  When polices statistics get in the news it’s very rare for the material to be treated as performance management and the figures are taken at face value.

We are now 5 years post-Lehman and every six months or so the books get cooked again in front of us.  A magician tells us everything is hunky-dory and we get on with waiting for the next bail out – and now post-Cyprus for bail-ins that will take our savings accounts.  Across other performance managed tedium we wait for the next Hillsborough, next Baby P, next Nico Bento, next lousy hospital, next miserable treatment of the disabled and old – and so on.

The simple answer is that our “professionals” are lying to us as surely as any Soviet apparatchik (there the apparatchiks have become the entrepreneurchiks).  What we have lost, if we ever had it, is accounting based on reality.  A question I want an answer to is what would really happen if we collapsed the financial sector entirely, replacing it with small, local banks doing real investment and utility work.  Would we starve, not be able to have homes, medical care and things we really need?  This is a basic question about our security and one would think politicians and media-types would want us to know.

I regard many organisations as much worse than the police – social work, lawyering, accountants, banksters, politicians and my own academy.  The idea of a more “professional” police fore fills me with dread.  Our local bobby and CPSO are fine – the problems are in management and we should be looking at much less of this, not paying it more through professionalisation.

The bankers’ (and I think bankster now the better term) role in our society is not explained so we can understand what they do, and much the same can be said of our managers and politicians across our society.  They all seem to need vast amounts of produced wealth (sort of money) to do these jobs not explained to us.  There were claims not long ago that the financial sector might be producing as much as 40% of our GDP – but now it seems the accounting of this is in multiples of the bag of rocking horse droppings standardised in Value at Risk.  They can make up their accounts and do so based on various fantasies.

We need some good management – but I suspect we can’t get any until the lying stops.  In the police example we keep hearing the same performance management figures and such matters (if we look) as vast increases in the recidivist criminal population that suggest an opposite of any decrease in crime.  Our prisons are full, yet huge numbers of new arrivals already have a dozen community punishments.  Politicians may ponse on about human rights, but keep quiet about the UK (and US) as a very poor place to get legal help and access to justice in the developed world.

I take the guess that financial services are almost entirely criminal and no use to anyone decent (we only need utility banking and would be better off with general rather than ‘personal’ pension plans – to cut fees that destroy much of the investment – and banks that could invest in facilities we need and not chase “international rates of return”).  No one is explaining to us how our contributions to bail outs is supposed to work and why the vastly competent super heroes of finance can’t use their own kryptonite.

We know damned well what would happen if we abolished the police force and I doubt even criminals would vote for that (the rest of us would kill them).  Abolishing ACPO is another matter, as collapsing financial services to utility status would be.  Getting on with management reform after collapsing the lies might even give us more cops and allow guaranteed employment (I’d invest in cattle prod futures on account of our more recalcitrant welfare spongers – including banksters newly separated from their ill-gotten gains).


Problem Families – Non-Solutions From Government and Gadget

Must get back to the book, but not in the mood following blue-in-the-face meeting with an idle solicitor.

The government is proposing to fix problem families with around £110 million a year to put one person in charge of dealings with said.  The estimate is 130,000 of them so this means about £800 a year on each.  That’s sod all – not much mroe than the cost of one of the 200 police visits they may get a year.

My suspicion is this measure will actually create bureaucrats who will juke performance management reports on what’s going on.  Louise Casey has been a failure for more than 10 years.

Gadget does the usual running down of the scum and is, of course, right.  The problem here is that moral urging over the years has made no difference at all and the problem, described in history books for centuries, is getting worse.

Cameron was even saying we first had to identify these families – given they have often been occupying houses in the same locale for generations, this seems absurd.  We already know who they are.

The problems are much deeper than any crass ‘putting someone in charge’ management scam can deal with.  The relevant authorities have been lying about ‘excellent partnership working’ since partnership working became a buzz phrase – underneath you find the very inspector issuing this bureaucratic grease saying working with the Council is like trying to plat snot.

I’ve lost nearly all sympathy with the scumbags – as I say, Gadget is right on what their problems are.  This isn’t the point.  I favour a cull.  The social problem is the damage they do to other people and this is immense.  There is another group who cause the rest of us as much pain and moer damage – the very rich and their financial services lickspittles.

The scumbags cause pain for the rest of us of such magnitude that we broadly do everything we can not to live near them (higher mortgage) or have our children go to school with theirs.  My grandson is at a school that can’t cope with its catchment from the Everglades and we are taking him out.  They are using measures like collective punishments.  There is bullying and most lessons are not worth much in learning terms because of disruption.

The scumbags, as any cop will tell you, know that the first line of defence is to get out a smear story on anyone complaining – what I’d like to hear more from cops is how they deal with this inevitable issue – silence when I do.  The same is true across agencies – they have almost no clue on how to gauge evidence and end up leaving the complainants in the lurch – an often violent lurch.  Complainants end up complaining about the service from the agencies and, surprise, surprise, get smeared to make them seem non-credible.

What’s needed is to identify the victims and provide support from that point.  Moral urging fails on the immoral – whether scumbags or banksters (you won’t believe what they are doing until the next collapse – coming soon).  And victims need to be contacted so that there treatment at the hands of cops, townhallsters, courts and others can be collated and used as a genuine performance measure.  Many cops would welcome this, knowing there are some knocks to take.

The current system is so crap you can’t even get noise stopped and includes such provision that this is OK if generated by certain ethnicities.  If you are ill and likely to be seriously made worse by intrusive noise the law says – well fuck you.  The agencies will lie and do complainants serious harm to protect their own incompetence and organisational performance – to the extent of conspiring to false prosecutions.  Politicians are worse and want to pretend their system and people are working.

Both Cameron and Gadget are a sell-out on this one.  What we need is someone with the balls to take the lid off and design something that works from the ground up.  Or give me and Gadget 00 licence and declare free-range on the shits.  Horrible as it is, a cull would do a lot to fix estates, housing, schools, NHS and many other problems.  Gadget might not join me in carrying a ‘banksters next’ placard.

What’s needed is not identification of the scum – I could organise most of that in a day (local cops know).  It’s the full extent of the problem and how it affects others that needs identification and sorting.  Fuck the scum – make them live partioned lives on trailer parks with barbed wire round them and a strict curfew.  They are beyond cure.  Start building these colonies now after reading Gadget’s riot act and move them on first breach.

Their houses will need a lot spending on them to enable decent families to have a home, and we could organise this as a youth employment-skilling project.

The cost of these scumbags will exceed any figure we can put on it.  The cost of non-policing them for others is vast,  We don’t police the banksters either and they are out to cost us democracy.  My guess is they are engineering another collapse and using a combination of derivatives trading and bankruptcy law in a plot to steal bail-out money and, indeed, any other assets they can grab.  We aren’t policing this either.

The gist of the bankster scheme involves bankruptcy rules on hypothecated debt which all banks to grab any assets ahead of other creditors (including us).  We may be seeing such a scam at JP Morgan now in the MF Global collapse.  It’s sort of this – that in a world in which all go bankrupt those first in line for what’s left end up winners.

My guess, if the truth was out, is that we wouldn’t want to live with either scumbags or banksters.  All this needs more than some designated bureaucrat to fix.  Gadget’s moralising won’t work on either end – and what would a Gedget do when the right thing isn’t protecting its mortgage-paying ability?  I suspect this morality is one and the same with the scrote and bankster.  Self at all costs – and it’s costing our democracy.

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.

Our Cops Aren’t Bent – there’s a wider rotten orchard

Management is the modern problem.  The origins of the word are shaky, possibly in a term meaning ‘the handling of horses’.  It’s some kind of ‘Spanish practice’ anyway.  There’s the odd rotten apple in all walks of life, so this doesn’t help much in thinking about our cops.  One has just been nicked near me – an Asian guy perverting the course of justice ac cording to the papers.  Our justice system works through ‘credibility’.  This hapless and has a very dirty history, including the ‘Straw Men’ (who hung about with straw showing outside courts waiting to lie for someone), wager of law (the one with the most liars wins) and access to lawyers that only works for the really rich or very poor (to some extent).

Discipline systems like the law and management are rarely fair.  They involve power and power is corrupting.  We know this and build in checks and balances, but these tend not to work well.  The notion of personal virtue ain’t much good either – it’s too easy to feign.  There’s an important notion in all this I remember Hogday pointing to – the system is partly deterrent because you might get an unfair clout if you challenge it.  There are good reasons for us not to give lip to cops and teachers, not to be able to choose to go on holiday when being ordered to go over the top.

What we are witnessing at the moment is a failure in society to make honesty an even liable option, let alone the best policy.  The corruption is widespread, managerial and ‘regal’, in the guise of meritocracy supported by ranking rather than discursive education.

None of this helps in the short-term, if you are dealing with a bent or useless set of cops.  Judicial Review might, but this is the preserve of the rich.  This is referred to as ‘working with a judge on your shoulder’ – interestingly we often say we can’t have our cops and public sector people working as though this were the case, as it would hinder them.

It’s worse and later than we know.  It’s all performance management.  If we were running the company, we’d want facts, reliable figures, benchmarking against other systems, accounting to tell us where the money is spent and critical quality analysis.  If our people failed in the job, we would want to know why in order to improve.  This seems simple enough, until you know how organisations and behaviour in them work.  Success stories quickly evaporate on close scrutiny.

It becomes possible to say almost anything.  A rise in the number of complaints becomes a  vindication of the complaints service being more accessible.  We know the form.  This is not something specific to policing or the legal system.

What’s surfacing now is obvious evidence that our cops lie.  This should hardly surprise us as they are human, drawn from the same society as the rest of us.  Video evidence is key in this.  What’s disturbing is that may only be the tip of an iceberg.  This is not to think most of our cops are bent, but to wonder to what extent the whole of our legal system relies on evidence that is not the best now available.  It relies on many fictions, not least that of the reliability of police evidence.

There is a massive mis-match between what we now know scientifically as evidence and that used in the legal system and its dark ‘times immemorial’.  Cops and lawyers get to know how to bend evidence to the system and what they can get away with.  I have mates who teach this.  It’s expected.  You have to do it.

The arrested inspector is from Bolton West neighbourhood policing team, not some drug squad.  I know that another ‘man’ at the same rank committed the same offence with other officers.  They were white and got away with it.  There is sickness involved in this.  It’s caused by always dealing with ‘evidence’ that isn’t the actual evidence or the best that could be put together.  This is difficult to lay out, but imagine what we could do with video tape of Blair discussing Iraq, rather than his ‘recall’ – or how Watergate came out.

The ‘Harwood saga’ is a good example.  But it is only an example of the wider malaise of denial across our society.  Go back to the ‘Guinness saga’ and you find a court accepting an ‘early onset of Alzheimer’s’ – and a later, impossible recovery exposes the lying.  The Suez Crisis is perhaps the paradigm case of official lying and conivance; these days we just ‘sex it up’.

My guess is most of our cops beat the average, but two bent neighbourhood inspectors in an insignificant town like Bolton and lack of any statistical investigation makes me worry.  In principle, it shouldn’t matter who is giving evidence. I have copies of much of Einstein’s work, and sometimes compare it with long and apparently logical and detailed arguments against – it’s often difficult to tell how and why utter rot is utter rot.  It’s not physics I compare (mine is undergraduate), but argument.  The rot relies on tricks of ‘logic’ remarkably similar to much in politics or defensive denials about police misconduct.  The most glaring concern access to the actual evidence and openness of decision to critique.

Oversimplifying to the extreme, my local inspector (who is a good chap) and I might be out having a couple of pints and vying for female attention.  She might give me more credibility as a bloke.  The situation in court and (wrongly) through investigation processes more or less automatically reverses the credibility issue in a manner that is almost impossible to challenge.  This is fine as long as authority is really legitimate and he is straight and competent.

Of course, just as we learn ‘techniques’ in ‘swooning’, we learn them ‘professionally’.  Indeed, we do the latter to increase our chances in the former.  We  are not good at spotting the bent practitioners in either, and worse, generally believe we are.  We only have science because we are generally such suckers to believe evidence on ‘personal credibility’.  No one would spend money on advertising if they did not believe this.

Next to us in the pub, there might be one of those idiots who believe all cops are bent.  She is the biggest danger of all.  For anyone trying to prove a real case risks being dumped in that “box”.  This is precisely what the Police Action Lawyers Group claim is likely to happen to anyone complaining about police.  It is this scurrilous tactic, which finds a ready strategy in place that is the problem.  It happens across our organisations.  The police would be a good place to start investigations to move us on from dark age reasoning, but attacks on them, are really misguided attacks on the wider problem.

Focus is always on the individual case, not the wider issue of legitimation.  We regularly submit to unfairness at work, in personal relations and so on, taking the rough with the smooth.  And if you really look, bent practices are everywhere.  Scientists find complexity everywhere, marveling when simplexity emerges.  When Harwood knocked down a vulnerable man, he did it in front of cops who didn’t arrest him, and a massive cover-up ensued and is continuing after two years.  Bento was convicted on ‘evidence’ a primary school moot court would have rejected.  What we need is a scientific review.  What we get resembles a mad neighbour dispute, running in its own devices.