New Crime Statistics Agency To Improve Accuracy, Integrity And Accessibility

• Crime statistics will be more accessible and transparent under the newly established Crime Statistics Agency
• Legislation for this new agency introduced to Parliament this week
• Victorian Coalition Government strengthening community confidence in crime statistics

Crime statistics will be more accessible and transparent under the Victorian Coalition Government’s new independent Crime Statistics Agency (CSA).

Minister for Police and Emergency Services Kim Wells said legislation for the CSA was introduced into Parliament today. The CSA will begin operation from 1 January 2015.

“The CSA will be charged with the responsibility of strengthening community confidence in crime statistics reporting and is an important addition to the Coalition Government’s law and order agenda,” Mr Wells said.

“Under the previous Labor Government, there was a complete lack of transparency.

“The Coalition Government is delivering on its commitment to improve the integrity and transparency of crime data in Victoria, which is in stark contrast to Labor’s dubious handling of the crime statistics during its term in office.

“In addition to improving access and availability to crime data in Victoria, the CSA will undertake and publish research into crime trends in Victoria, providing Victorians with a greater understanding about patterns of offending.

“The CSA will also establish a website, through which its quarterly and annual reports will be made accessible to the public.

“The website will include the quarterly reports with a breakdown of crimes by postcode, data which was never previously readily available to the public.

“Establishing this agency satisfies a recommendation by the Ombudsman made in two reports from 2009 and 2011, which was critical of the manipulation of crime statistics in the lead-up to the November 2010 state election and found Victorians were deliberately misled.

“It also satisfies a recommendation that the former Office of Police Integrity made in its 2011 Report of an investigation into Victoria Police crime records and statistical reporting.”

Mr Wells said Fiona Dowsley was recently appointed to the role of foundation Chief Statistician of the CSA. Ms Dowsley previously headed the National Centre for Crime and Justice Statistics within the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

“From now until January, the Chief Statistician will be recruiting staff and setting up the processes required to ensure the agency delivers on its objectives,” Mr Wells said.

“The CSA will work with Victoria Police to develop methods to ensure a smooth transfer of statistics, with the interim period assisting in ensuring the statistics are presented in a way that people can easily understand.”

The Coalition Government allocated $8.4 million for the establishment of the agency in the 2013-14 Budget.

The CSA will remain independent of Victoria Police.