Fraudulent police claims about "solved" crimes

Most of the "solved" crimes have not been solved at all. NOT ONE of the "solved" homicides in Queensland even went to court! And this is said to be national police practice in Australia!

POLICE crime statistics have been exposed as rubbery by officers responsible for entering the data. Every time an arrest is made and an offender charged, those offences are recorded as "solved" in the Q-Prime computer system. Even if the charges are withdrawn or the prosecution fails, the status of the offence remains as cleared.

Police Commissioner Bob Atkinson confirmed the practice and said it was in line with national standards. But a detective sergeant who contacted The Courier-Mail claimed this was inaccurately inflating crime clear-up rates recorded in the Annual Statistical Report. The 2007-08 report showed 92 per cent of homicides were cleared, along with 79 per cent of rapes and 75 per cent of assaults.

In the same period, none of those charged over homicides was adjudicated by the courts, and almost one in five charges (18.3 per cent) laid by police were withdrawn by the prosecution.

Criminal defence lawyer Jim Coburn, from Ryan and Bosscher, said the practice of declaring crimes solved before they were prosecuted was "a distortion of the facts". "I don't think it's fair or otherwise. It doesn't hurt the criminal as far as the end product is concerned, but it creates a false impression," Mr Coburn said.

He said the rate of charges being withdrawn in Queensland was dramatically higher than other states because of the practice of "overcharging" by police. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, in 2007-08, 1108 defendants had their charges withdrawn by the prosecution in Queensland district and supreme courts, compared with just 96 in Victoria and 220 in New South Wales.

Commissioner Atkinson said the method of declaring crimes cleared as soon as an arrest was made was no different to other states. "The vast majority of matters do result in convictions. Even when they don't, there are very good reasons as to why they should still be shown as solved or cleared," Mr Atkinson said. He said in some assault cases, juries or magistrates accepted the defence of provocation and acquitted the accused. "It would be really unreasonable to say that matter's not cleared, because it is."

He also cited the example of recidivist offenders who commit bulk property crimes but face trial for a small proportion of break-and-enter charges. "While those charges have been dropped, they're all still cleared," Mr Atkinson said.

He said Queenslanders should have complete confidence in crime statistics.


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