The Tallest Tale: U.K. Crime is Down…NOT

by Paul Gallant, Sherry Gallant, Alan J. Chwick, andJoanne D. Eisen

On September 10, 2013, Piers Morgan, a British journalist and TV host in America on CNN, interviewed Emily Miller, author of Emily Gets Her Gun...but Obama wants to take Yours, and Opinion Page Senior Editor for the Washington Times. Miller, a Washington D.C. resident, "gained national attention for her 'Emily Gets Her Gun' series in the em>Times..." Her book documents the story of all the hoops she had to jump through, and all the money she had to spend, to obtain a concealed-carry license.

From the video clips we've seen of his "interviews," Piers Morgan is most often arrogant and ignorant in his debates, and has a habit of rudely cutting off his guests in mid-sentence, talking over them, and inserting his own totally uninformed opinions. A rabid firearm-prohibitionist, Morgan, a British subject, almost invariably uses his program as a platform for international firearm-prohibition, using the U.K. as an example that less guns in the hands of citizens equals less crime.

The debate between Miller and Morgan was typical of most debates, with only one exception: there were no slurs or name-calling by Morgan in this one, just constant interruptions and incredulity by Morgan at any comments Ms. Miller could manage to get in.

Contrast this with two earlier debates he had with Larry Pratt, Executive Director of Gun Owners of America. In the first show, which aired on December 18, 2012, the debate centered on the Newtown, CT, shootings, and Morgan's insistence that more restrictive firearm laws would have prevented this tragedy. Morgan also dragged international firearm-related crime into the debate, so-called "assault-weapons" as the preferred instrument of criminals, claiming they had no legitimate use for civilians.

When Pratt disagreed, pointing out the benefit of deterrence provided when guns are in the hands of the good guys, and pointing out the utility of firearms which accepted high-capacity magazine firearms for self-defense — the very kind Morgan demonized — Morgan arrogantly asked "You're an unbelievably stupid man, aren't you?" He ended by calling Pratt an "idiot."

On January 9, 2013, Morgan, engaged in a second heated debate with Larry Pratt. This one dealt primarily with crime statistics in the United Kingdom (U.K.). Morgan claimed that he "actually dug out the [U.K.'s] official figures" to buttress his claim. Pratt argued, in rebuttal, that the statistics provided by U.K. officials were fudged to make it appear that firearm-related crime was lower in the U.K. than in the U.S.

Morgan's theme is like a broken record: U.K. firearm-related crime has been steadily dropping ever since its handgun ban was enacted (in 1997). This is repeated in many other debates, including the interview with Breitbart News author A.W.R. Hawkins on August 13, 2013, in which Morgan stated "I don't want all American women armed with guns." Hawkins was attempting to make the point that restrictive gun laws hurt women the most because they are the segment of society most powerless against the physically strong.

Two authors of this article (PG, JDE) had researched skyrocketing violent crime in the U.K. over a decade ago. In an article published in the October 2000 issue of Guns & Ammo Magazine, we wrote:

"To hide the facts from its citizens—and from the rest of the world—the British government has been working overtime, doing its level best to obscure its own complicity in the crime increase by fudging the statistics."

Here are some of the shenanigans they used back then.

In citing an article published in the April 1, 1996 edition of London's Daily Telegraph, entitled "Crime Figures a Sham, Say Police," we found that an unnamed retired senior officer at Scotland Yard had revealed "there are a series of tricks that render the [crime] figures a complete sham." As an example, he noted that "where a series of homes in a block of flats were burgled they were regularly recorded as one crime." So, if the burglar hit 15 or 20 flats, only one crime was added to the official statistics.

We also showed discrepancies in the reporting of homicides. In their 1996 book Guns & Violence: The Debate Before Lord Cullen, Richard Munday and Jan Stevenson analyzed the difference between British and U.S. reported homicide rates, and showed how the true British homicide rate has been camouflaged.

Here in the States, the homicide rate is based on arrest data, not on the final disposition of cases. In Great Britain, however, Munday and Stevenson pointed out that, as a result of the 1967 Criminal Law Act, each homicide case is "tracked through the courts and the figures pruned annually to cull out those in which the courts found the death to be the result of accident or self defence, or [the perpetrator was] convicted on a lesser charge."

For instance, a murderer could be convicted of "causing grievous bodily harm with intent," and such a case would then be removed from the homicide crime statistics. Observed Munday and Stevenson: "Britain's comparatively low homicide rate is in part due to...massaging down the figure, reducing recorded homicides by as much as 25 per cent."

We followed subsequent events in the U.K. with great interest. Despite a century of increasingly restrictive firearms law in Great Britain, topped off by its 1997 handgun ban, sold to the population as a way to reduce violent crime, crime skyrocketed, especially handgun-related crime.

According to the December 31, 2000 edition of the Guardian Unlimited, "gun crime in Britain is soaring to record levels: executions, woundings and related incidents in the past year are set to be the highest ever.... The number of armed operations by police is also at a record level."

The July 16, 2001 issue of the BBC News reported:

A new study suggests the use of handguns in crime rose by 40% in the two years after the weapons were banned. The research, commissioned by the Countryside Alliance's Campaign for Shooting, has concluded that existing laws are targeting legitimate users of firearms rather than criminals.... The report suggests that despite the restrictions on ownership the use of handguns in crime is rising. The Centre for Defence Studies at Kings College in London, which carried out the research, said the number of crimes in which a handgun was reported increased from 2,648 in 1997/98 to 3,685 in 1999/2000. It also said there was no link between high levels of gun crime and areas where there were still high levels of lawful gun possession.

We decided that revisiting this issue of firearm-related crime in the U.K. was appropriate at this time. Upon preliminary research, we immediately saw that the U.K. media and Home Office were reporting that crime was under control, and that all crime was trending downward.

However, from our extensive prior research, and familiarity with this issue, we had our suspicions, and a red flag went up.

At this time, 13 years after our G&A article was published, and with crime reportedly plummeting, what are the true crime statistics?

At the outset, let's recognize that the Brits freely admit to massaging crime figures. And to be fair, we know that many police departments in many nations also fudge their crime figures. But the Brits in the last few years have raised the casual massaging of statistics to breath-taking heights.

They persist in the practice of recording one crime when a series of crimes has been committed, in order to camouflage the true number. And a sophisticated bureaucracy has emerged to help reclassify the type of crime that occurs in order to massage the statistics downward even further.

Besides these two more or less common fudge techniques, they now also have a category called "no crime" in which a reported crime can be completely removed from the statistics under certain circumstances. A September 9, 2011 article in the BBC News entitled Rape Crime Differences Revealed, explained some of the consequences of this new category of "crime":

New figures show wide disparities in the way that police forces in England and Wales record allegations of rape. Data supplied to BBC News shows the proportion of rapes dismissed by the police as "no crime" varies between 2% and 30.... While Gloucestershire Police recorded 2.4% of rapes as "no crime," the figure for Kent was 30%, three times the rate in 2009. Surrey Police's "no crime" figure was over 20%.... Lisa Longstaff, of Women against Rape, said the figures were insulting to victims.

Longstaff added: "The whole practice of 'no criming' does send out a terrible message and the higher the no crime figure is in each area, the worse the message it sends out."

And despite reports that all categories of crime in the U.K. are falling, we know that U.K. subjects do not believe the recent propaganda.

From Crime Statistics: An Independent Review (Nov. 2006): "The Home Secretary is concerned that public trust in the crime statistics produced by the Home Office has declined to such an extent that it is no longer possible to have a debate about alternative criminal justice policies on the basis of agreed facts about the trends in crime."

According to an article entitled Restoring Public Trust in Crime Statistics (2009):

Crime statistics are not trusted by the public. A recent Cabinet Office review found that out of 1,502 people polled, only three people used official crime statistics for understanding what was happening with crime. Similarly, the 2007 Ipsos MORI document 'Closing the Gap" said: "The public is sceptical about the use of data to 'spin' the government's message and believe that government simply pick and choose statistics to fit their aims or story. Politicians are one of the least trusted groups and so this scepticism is heightened if it is a politician that is using statistics to make a point."

The report continued:

In October 2008, the Home Secretary admitted that there had been undercounting of some of the most serious violent crimes in eighteen police forces. The error was discovered when at least 18 out of 43 forces in England and Wales were asked to re-examine their figures, following the realisation that around 1,000 offences of 'grievous bodily harm with intent' had been recorded as 'other violence against the person' — an offence not counted within the category of serious violent crime. When the figures were recounted using the correct classification, the official total showed an increase in serious violent crime of 22 per cent.

An article that ran in The Telegraph on May 12, 2013 entitled Police ‘ordered to slant crime data’ stated:

Crime figures are being kept artificially low because of pressure from chief constables, a police leader will warn this week. The head of the Police Federation will suggest a “fear factor” in the wake of the Leveson Inquiry is preventing officers from blowing the whistle on how crime statistics are being manipulated. The intervention by Steve Williams, chairman of the organisation which represents 130,000 frontline officers in England and Wales, is highly significant because it appears to confirm widespread public scepticism of how crime is recorded….Mr. Williams will say that police transparency on crime levels and other areas has been badly hit by the Leveson inquiry on Press standards, which examined alleged collusion between police officers and journalists. Officers now fear that speaking out about scandals, mistakes and other serious issues – including pressure from senior officers to massage crime figures – will lead to disciplinary measures or the sack, he will suggest.

As a follow-up to this story, The Telegraph reported on August 8 that "a date has been set for Lord Justice Leveson's appearance before MPs to answer questions about the phone-hacking scandal and his blueprint for tougher press regulation. The judge, who led the inquiry into press ethics, will give evidence to the Commons Culture, Media and Sport select committee on October 10, when MPs are keen to question him about the stalement [sic] over future regulation of the press."

Despite all the double-talk, and the blatantly false assertions of declining crime in the U.K., one underlying theme seems to permeate the picture: the matter of accurate reporting of crime has been reduced from the level of any degree of accuracy to the level of simple expediency—and accuracy of any sort be damned!

If Morgan is correct about the U.K.'s crime statistics, why are so many Brits afraid, now? Perhaps the incident on September 16, 2013, when the 25-year old daughter of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Kathryn Blair, "was walking her dog in central London with her boyfriend and some friends when they were approached by two men, one armed with a gun, and were asked for cash.." didn't exactly inspire confidence in the safety of Brits.

Returning to Piers Morgan's interviews with Larry Pratt and others, was Piers Morgan correct, or just a closed-minded individual who refuses to believe the evidence that is out there for all to read if they want—that guns in the hands of the good guys is what makes for the safest society possible, and that restrictive firearm laws haven't worked?

And who is the real idiot?

About the authors:

Dr .Paul Gallant and Dr. Joanne D. Eisen practice optometry and dentistry, respectively, on Long Island, NY. They have collaborated on firearm politics for the past 20 years, and are Senior Fellows at the Independence Institute in Denver, CO. Alan J. Chwick is currently the Managing Coach of the Freeport Junior Club (FJC), at the Freeport NY Revolver & Rifle Association, Freeport, NY. Sherry Gallant has collaborated in their writing for the past few years, and has participated in the writing activities of her husband over the past 20 years.

Respective E-Mail addresses are:

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Reprinted with permission from AmmoLand Shooting Sports News,, October 7, 2013. This article may be re-printed in other publications as long as proper credit is given to AmmoLand Shooting Sports News and the authors, and is not excerpted. The authors wish to thank AmmoLand Shooting Sports News for permission to reprint & distribute the preceding article.

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