MP hits back at use of statistics in ‘most murderous’ town label

MP for Boston and Skegness Matt Warman
MP for Boston and Skegness Matt Warman

The MP for Boston has hit back over the label of ‘most murderous’ town, which was given to the town today (Friday) by the Daily Mirror, calling it ‘crazy’ and ‘scaremongering twaddle’.

Matt Warman accused the paper of being ‘wildly incompetent’ and ‘playing stupid games’ with the statistics and said there was ‘no statistician in the land that would say what they have done represents the reality’.

As reported earier today, The Mirror today gave the town the label after looking at crime figures from the Home Office which revealed the number of cases of homicide, attempted murder and conspiracy to murder for the 12 months up to and including September 2015.

It worked out that with two homicides and eight attempted murders the figure resulted in a rate of 15 murderous crimes for every 100,000 people living in the area.

Mr Warman told The Standard: “It’s [the story is] crazy it makes no statistical sense.”

He pointed to the fact the town does not have a population of 100,000, adding: “You can’t just scale up the numbers like that.

“This is why, for instance, you will not find league tables that compare Boston small schools to Boston big schools.

“You can’t just say if you have got 10 people and one murder you are going to be the most murderous place in the country.”

Mr Warman said that he wasn’t denying there were ‘issues for us to tackle’ and admitted the raw data was accurate, but called the Mirror’s use of the statistics ‘unhelpful’.

“I’m not complacent about the issues. If I were, me and the chief constable wouldn’t have been texting each other over the last six months whenever an incident was raised,” he said.

He pointed to initiatives such as Op Nova and recent armed police presence before Christmas as demonstrating the area getting the resources it needed.

He said he would be writing to the office of the chief statistician of the ONS adding: “I do believe that we should be sensible and have appropriate health warnings about the misuse of data.”

He also added: “The danger with those sorts of stories, is they provide evidence to people who want to push a certain agenda and that’s deeply unfair for all of us.”