What is it they used to say: lies, damned lies and statistics? I'm afraid I often take claims from the police that crime is down with a pinch of salt. One of the reasons for this is that the police forces which make this claim often appear to have little-to-no interest in tackling ordinary everyday crime. The police can't be everywhere, so when you phone in a crime in progress, say guys stealing tools from a building site, and are told "thanks, but we've no cars free at the moment" that maybe shouldn't be a surprise. Then the surprise comes in the shape of walking around the next corner and seeing two cops sitting in their car stuffing their faces with doughnuts. I guess what the guy in the police control room meant to say was "Sorry, it's doughnut time and that has to get priority over doing what we are paid for". If only that had been an isolated incident. Sadly, very far from it. So, when police claim that certain crimes are down, I wonder if they really mean is that reports of those crimes are down. Of course people are going to stop reporting crimes when they find out that they are wasting their time. So, we end up with a situation in which the worst police forces can actually be made to look like the most efficient.