Criminal reporting on EU crime

by Sam Ashworth-Hayes | 17.02.2016

Reading the papers today you could be forgiven for thinking that we’re in the grip of an EU-led crime wave. You would, however, be wrong.

The MailExpress and Telegraph grimly concurred that EU migrants are committing over 700 crimes a week, with convictions of EU nationals rocketing 40% in five years. We know this because “official figures” tell us so.

ACRO, the body that produces the data, told InFacts categorically that they say nothing of the sort. A spokesman said the data “does not relate to the number of foreign nationals convicted in the UK, nor does it directly correlate to the total number of convictions.”

The papers are referring to “notifications out”—the UK letting another country know that one of its citizens has either been convicted of an offence in the UK, or had their conviction updated. Updates might be sent out if a person breaks a court order or appeals their conviction, to give two examples.

In other words, the figures don’t show how many EU migrants have been convicted of crimes. They don’t show how many convictions involving EU migrants have taken place. And they don’t show how many crimes have been committed by EU migrants.

For the record, while the “40% increase” isn’t a useful metric, the population of EU nationals in the UK rose by 44%. To put it another way, there were fewer notifications per EU citizen living in the UK in 2015 than there were in 2010.

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    The Mail’s assertion that the figures are “Evidence the bloc’s freedom of movement rules are routinely being abused” doesn’t bear close scrutiny. If anything, the figures make the new intake look like an orderly bunch*.

    *Again, the figures don’t actually show convictions.

    Edited by Geert Linnebank