Channel Nine and Crime on the Rail System

Release date: 13 December 2011

Claims last night by Channel Nine that up to 10 per cent of reports of crime on the rail system are simply 'disappearing' are completely false, the Director of the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research said today.

"Police are fully entitled to reject a reported crime if they have reason to believe the report is not genuine (e.g. CCTV footage shows the alleged incident did not take place)."

"The Bureau conducts regular audits of all NSW Police crime data, looking for any evidence that police are improperly rejecting crimes reported to them. The results of these audits are always made public. The most recent audit findings and our audit processes are on our website at:

http://www.bocsar.nsw.gov.au../vwFiles/RecordedCrimeRejectedIncidentMonitoringReportJun2011.pdf/$file/RecordedCrimeRejectedIncidentMonitoringReportJun2011.pdf

"When Channel Nine's Kelvin Bissett contacted the Bureau seeking information on crimes on the rail system rejected by police, he was provided with data showing that the overall rejection rate for crimes reported on the rail system was just 3.3 per cent."

"The rejection rate for sexual assault was much higher (15 per cent) but the numbers were quite small; three reports being rejected out of a total of 20 for the entire year."

"Channel Nine ignored all this and proceeded to make completely unfounded allegations to the effect that records of crime on the rail system reported to police were being hidden or destroyed."

"There was and is no evidence that police have been hiding or destroying reports of crime to make the problem of crime on the rail system appear less serious than it is. The story on rail violence by Channel Nine was an example of tabloid journalism at its worst."

Further enquiries: Dr Don Weatherburn. Ph. 9231-9190