The RSS has written to the stats regulator, the Office for Statistics Regulation (OSR) to seek their views on the Home Office’s delay in releasing its stop and search figures.
In the letter to Ed Humpherson, Director General of OSR, the Society says that changing the release date at short notice risks undermining public confidence in statistics, given that a bill on policing is currently passing through Parliament.
The statistics were due to be published on 28 October 2021 but were delayed to 18 November to allow for completion of quality assurance after the collection was changed from aggregates to individuals. In the letter, Stephen Penneck, who chairs the RSS’s National Statistics Advisory Group, suggests that such a delay should have been anticipated and publicised well in advance of the expected publication date.
The letter also highlights our concern that there is not a clear trail of evidence to counter the perception in some parts of the media, for example in the Observer, that these national statistics may have been delayed for political reasons.
Since sending the letter the RSS has been informed by OSR that the Home Office announced the delay on 25 October 2021 – just a few days before the figures were due to be published.
Read the letter in full.
UPDATE 22 November 2021: Read the response from OSR.