back to article The Casey Report: Putting your mouth, not brain, in charge

We don’t do referendums in the UK. Quite apart from the sense that they are too easily manipulated into providing cover for unpopular government policies – or getting Government off the hook – they don’t fit very well inside our tradition of parliamentary democracy. What we do have, courtesy of New Labour, are focus groups, “ …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. amanfromMars Silver badge

    Viking Support to V Bombe Comment 42 Control Command

    "the public are not daft. They know what’s wrong, they know what’s right, and they know what they want on crime and justice. And it’s time action was taken on their terms." .... Louise Casey June 2008 ....

    And how will you dDeliver Government Services, Louise? New Servers?

    What a Spiffing Good IDea. Is IT IKEan?

  2. amanfromMars Silver badge

    Patriot Acting.....

    I do suppose Ms Casey was provided with "PSNI and ControlLed Vistas." otherwise there are Intelligence Failings too.

    I say El Reg.... MS Casey was a bit harsh/bold, was it not?

    I wonder if Bill Gates is wondering if anyone at Microsoft knows what the Windows Operating System is All About. IT is but a Seed Growing into ITs Flowering Power/Artistic Licence.

    AI HostXSS for SuperSubAtomic NEUKlearer Communications ....... Quantum/dDeep Underground.

  3. Anonymous Coward

    "Science Rules OK!"

    That was the title of a piece in New Scientist (24 May 2008) addressing the construction of public policy using analysis and trials, rather than the more usual politician-with-a-brian-wave or politician-trying-to-appease-a-lobby-group. The article essentially says that we should run randomised controlled trials using techniques similar to medical/pharmaceutical trials in order to objectively determine whether or not a proposed policy will be effective or perhaps achieve some undesired result. The article gives several examples of seemingly "commonsense" policy initiatives that have failed ... arguably because they were implemented without prior analysis and trial.

    Other approaches to "evidence based policy" may be flawed ... the idea being that if the process to produce evidence is flawed, then so is the policy. And I suppose I am faintly suggesting that the "evidence" may be deliberately filtered to support some preconception.

    The New Scientist article struck a chord with me, since I've been personally arguing for over a decade (within my organisation) to dispense with "heroic" decision making and use, at the very least, objective, measurable and repeatable mechanisms to guide policy - personally, I'm a fan of modelling and simulation, where applicable. But when most "senior leaders" have trouble grasping any science at all, let alone applying it to decision making, I suppose I was always going to be disappointed.

  4. John Savard

    Not As Bad As That

    The rights of innocent people accused of crimes indeed must be protected. But that doesn't mean that knowingly turning dangerous criminals loose due to errors of police procedure is necessary to keep the administration of justice from "falling into disrepute", as the opposite is often the case.

    Also, it is true that crime has fallen in recent years, but people have higher standards, and want it to return to the level of, say, 1962, which remains considerably lower than what exists at present.

    Furthermore, since terrorist hostage-taking incidents with a view to securing the release of imprisoned terrorists have been known to take place, it seems to many that the return of the death penalty is now an obvious necessity.

    If crime were as rare, or rarer, than it was in 1962, and the vast majority of the ordinary people were happy and content with the fruits that honest labor brought them, then indeed a less vindictive attitude towards criminals might be supportable. Under current circumstances, it is hopelessly unrealistic to expect it to be sustained

  5. Graham Marsden
    Thumb Down

    More knee-jerk politics

    It seems that the only function of Labour's "Citizens' Juries" is to measure just *how far* people's knees are jerking...

    (PS to J.O. - Unless your apostrophe is in the wrong place in the second paragraph and it's only *one* Citizen on the Jury ;-) )

  6. Lol Whibley
    IT Angle


    much as i appreciate a good MP bashing when they've clearly a need...

    Where's the IT angle.

    yes you've some reference to statistics. that's not IT.

    the report's available on .pdf... is that the angle?

  7. Tony


    When I first started reading the article, I thought that the writer (John Ozimek) was being a bit harsh about the writer of the Casey Report and of the author, Ms Casey herself. However, I have actually downloaded the article and started to read it (all 120 pages!!) and I have to say, I have a great deal of sympathy for Mr Ozimek's views.

    The report has to be described as suspect at best. Much of it is based upon the statistics produced by specific questionnaires with questions that were contentious at best. These were filled in following a variety of meetings about crime in local areas - those attending would almost certainly be there because they were experiencing crime issues. Further, only about 10% of those attending the events actually completed the questionnaire. By any method of analysing statistics, the results would be skewed and probably of limited benefit.

    The report also makes a number of assumptions, again using the statistics as justification. In many cases, text from certain responses are included at key points and this is clearly an effort to justify recommendations when the statistics could be used to come to different conclusions.

    I note that Ms Casey makes a point of referring to "deprived areas" and the work being done to counter problems - however, she does not state that these are mainly urban aras in predominantly Labour voting areas. There are many equally deprived rural areas, but these are conveniently ignored.

    Much of the report is designed to present the current policies in this field as being correct. Where there is a failure, she asserts that the policy is still correct but is not being fully applied, usually blaming this on the police, magistrates or local councils.

    In all, this is a dismal report of no real value. No doubt, considerable public funds were expended in an attempt to provide "evidence" that the government is doing its job, and that the public are simply not sensible enough to realise this. The recommendations are yet more attacks on individual liberties, but with the usual spin that this is all for "the public good".

    If Ms Casey were in charge, I doubt that either Mr Ozimek or I would be allowed to voice our opinions of her work.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Fits in nicely with the destruction of the police service...

    ... by this government.

    Latest word is (you read it here first!) that now the Home Office wants to take over the appointment of chief constables from local police authorities. For those that have read this far, there is a growing crisis in senior police leadership, openly acknowledged by the Home Office and by the National Policing Improvement Agency. For example, when Tony Lake, (ex-CC of Lincolnshire) retired recently, there was only ONE applicant for the job - from his deputy. Home Office "rules" (=self-made non-statutory policy) require a minimum of three for a shortlist to be drawn up.

    Elsewhere, the situation is also critical... on average only around three people apply for each ACPO post, and some ACC (Assistant Chief Constable) posts get no applicants at all. Basically, senior officers are sick of micro-management of policing by politicians and most want out of it - who wants to be Captain of the Titanic after an iceberg warning? This means that those going forward and being appointed are often not up to it, some not only being evidence of the Peter Principle, but also going two or three ranks beyond it.

    Last year, Home Office ministers arranged for the establishment of the Senior Careers Advisory Service for superintendents and above... they wanted to know why the brightest police officers weren't applying for ACPO (Association of Chief Police Officer) posts.

    The didn't realise that the answer is simple - the brightest officers don't apply for ACPO posts because... they're bright...

  9. Ian McNee
    Thumb Up

    Careful John - The Grauniad bekons!

    Excellent and concise bit of analysis, thank you John. Oh and if you do land a plum job on an elusive liberal broadsheet don't forget about us back here in El Reg land!

  10. Anonymous Coward

    evidence based - just not the evidence the reporter likes

    John Ozimek probably didn't expect to like Ms Casey's report even before he opened it.

    Ms Casey thinks that the public don't have much confidence that criminals are bothered by the present arrangements, and wants things to change. That's why she asked the public what they thought and has made recommendations about this. Mr Ozimek is upset. He doesn't have much time for the public - he seems to think they ought to know their place. He is worried that estate agents might be upset, and that criminals might be upset as well. He wants evidence based policy. But not evidence as to what voters think.

    I like Ms Casey. A lot.

  11. Kwac


    "She is assertive – and that assertiveness has been known to express itself in thuggish form. "

    A couple of working definitions:

    assertion - claiming your rights without infringing the rights of others; aggression - claiming your rights whilst infringing the rights of others.

    In a previous life, working as a cognitive-behavioural therapist, I did sometimes treat aggressive people to become assertive.

  12. Mr Fury

    The people ignore the stats because they're rubbish

    Not sure I like the tone of the article any more than I like all the 'findings' of the report - if you don't trust peoples opinions so, I can only assume you prefer genial dictators over democracy? The Casey report does give a small representation of people opinions, and rather than dismiss them there should be found ways to assuage them through both education and an improved justice system.

    The crime stats are for *reported* crimes, and for many smaller crimes, such as vandalism or minor assault, there's no point reporting them as the police tend to do sod all, or - as what happened to a friend of mine - suggest the victim was to blame.

    As for punishments, yes we're too soft. The argument for any punishment acting a pre-deterrent is a false one - criminals don't commit crimes in expectations of getting caught. The risk part of the risk vs reward equation is capture rates, not punishments.

    That shouldn't stop punishment being used to deter recidivism or moving to greater crimes - in some cases corporal punishment should be brought back. A private switching followed by some counselling and follow-up help in terms of home-life and education would do a lot more than sticking a teenager into a youth detention centre to learn how to be a better criminal.

    I do like the map of crimes though, it might upset estate agents, but tough titty - people should have all available information when purchasing a property. If I paid 6 figures for a property with a high crime rate I'd hardly be too chuffed.

  13. Watashi

    Two World Wars for this?

    Irony can be painful when you're on the receiving end. Back in the 80s I studied German, but thought to myself 'I don't really need to learn this... after all, English is the new Universal language'. Only here I am, stuck in the UK and wishing I could move to Germany.

    Germany! My grandad fought in WW2, and was on one occasion literally only an inch from death when a bullet hit his helmet whilst fighting in Africa. A little lower and I wouldn't be here. What would he have said if he was here today and I told him I wanted to move to Germany because that country valued justice, freedom and liberty more than "Great" Britain?

    The cliche goes that if we hadn't taken part in WW2, we'd all be speaking German. If only I'd paid attention in classes, then I WOULD be speaking German and could move away from this sh*t-hole country.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Let me get this straight...

    Gov wants to hack another chunk out of what little remains of any pretence of democracy.

    Gov gets loyal mentally unbalanced traitor-to-their-own-species admin gibbon to bunch up a load of carefully selected plebs half-baked "opinions" to make it look like public involvement.

    She/it craps out final report, which pleasingly tallys with what the government wants to do, onto Dear Leader's desk. Gets pat on head.

    Intelligent people continue to flee the country, the remaining 95%-odd are too ignorant/gullible/broken-spirited* to care, and the State runs riot.

    Same old story.....


  15. night troll

    @ evidence based - just not the evidence the reporter likes

    "I like Ms Casey. A lot."

    Is that why you posted AC? In case she comes to visit.

  16. Jim Lewis

    Experiencing freedom

    I was recently in South Africa. If you listen to just about anyone they'll tell you that SA is a dangerous and lawless place, where the unwary white man is liable to have his throat cut at any moment for a trifling sum.

    I admit I felt uncomfotable in Johannesburg, but for the most part people were friendly and open, in a way I haven't experienced in the UK in years.

    One aspect of life there that was particularly refreshing was the total lack of a sense of being monitored. No CCTV, no police in evidence in most places. People just didn't care what you were up to.

    Clearly there is a down side to this, and I am possibly being naive, but the sense of relief and of the weight being lifted of constant surveillance was almost palpable.

    For all practical purposes I am a law abiding citizen, why am I constantly observed and monitored in the UK?

    I am seriously considering relocating to SA. I give up on the UK, it is rapidly falling into the hands of people who deserve nothing better than the open prison they seem determined to create for us.

  17. amanfromMars Silver badge

    LLAN Twittering......Special PsyOps

    "But when most "senior leaders" have trouble grasping any science at all, let alone applying it to decision making, I suppose I was always going to be disappointed." ..... By Anonymous Coward Posted Saturday 21st June 2008 08:33 GMT

    The Times are a'Changing, AC.

    And was that a deliberate Jungian Life of Brian slip? ..... "rather than the more usual politician-with-a-brian-wave"

    IT certainly captchad my interest?

    "Science Rules OK!" ..... Yes, IT Does, and IT Governs Abysmally.

  18. Steve Brooks


    "rather than the more usual politician-with-a-brian-wave"

    Ok so the only thing that stood out for me in the entire collection of user comments was this one, I just can help wondering what a brian-wave would look like? I'm from Australia so that probably explains it though!


  19. Ian

    No title- Farewell Freedom I guess

    The Political Parties in this country all pander to Murdoch/Mail. Steadily our freedoms are eroded.

    There has to be a balance, compensation for the victims of crime and punishment of the perpetrators. That is an obvious statement but laws in this country exist to cover most situations.

    For example:-

    The latest fashion is to carry knives, not a good idea, I know, and the Press is having fun laying criticisms. The Laws exist regarding carrying offensive weapons. The Police need to implement them and the Judiciary needs to apply the appropriate punishments. In MOST cases I believe that this is so.

    The anecdotal evidence as reported by Murdoch and the Daily Mail is that this never happens. Reporting of the anecdotal cases skews the perception of the mass populous and tougher laws are demanded. Focus groups produce crepe like that released last week.

    In a few years we will all lose the persumption fo innocence. Our biometric data will be on record for the 100 (laughing at the stupidity of the quoted number) civil servants to access on the non-shared computers of the National ID Card Database.

    Consider this.. The police will have your fingerprints, a crime is committed with fingerprint evidence available from the scene. Are they going to use good old fashioned detective work to identify suspects? Will they look for the potential matches from the data base?

    Ok, so 1 correct match is made, but how many false positives will be returned (balance of probabilities based on a number of sample points). I can provide an alibi for most evenings and most days, but if you can't.... the criminal can.

    Now if there is some intangible reason for you to be suspected, with a fingerprint match (remember that juries are made up of Sun and Mail readers) you will be very vulnerable to the court system.

    NO2ID seems very worth while.

    Use existing laws. Implement them properly.

    Won't start on surveillence cameras.

  20. Anonymous Coward


    Oh for f*** sake ..... you again! Do you actually believe anyone appreciates what you post? At best, you're an annoying distraction, like a small, bothersome child.

    And go easy on those pills!

  21. Peter Labrow

    Get out of the way of this nasty woman

    I saw Louise Casey interviewed on TV and it was terrifying that this woman, who shouts people down continually and is in love with her own vengeful opinion, is in a position to influence policy. i was waiting for her to advocate bringing back hanging.

  22. Fuion

    A title is required.


    ---> You seem to be mis-informed.

    "carefully selected plebs half-baked "opinions" "

    ---> Your also a cock sucker.


  23. NB


    I believe you mean "You're also a cock sucker."

    Please learn to use the English language properly before vomiting your bile. Also, if you're going to make such allegations perhaps you could back them up with some actual reasoning rather than sounding like an impertinent twat?

    Just a thought.

  24. Peter Labrow
    Thumb Up


    If you can't be bothered to actually contribute, don't waste internet bandwidth.

  25. Anonymous Coward

    "calls for online maps of crime stastistics"

    Great. So, police can concentrate on where the most crime is, potential victims can avoid those areas, and criminals can figure out where the victims and police are most likely to be...

  26. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    I wonder how much she drinks per day

    I mean, if being sober is no way to get work done, and if she practices what she preaches, then she must be tanked every day.

    Or am I misinterpreting something ?

This topic is closed for new posts.