SIR Keir Starmer has had his knuckles rapped for wrongly claiming crime is rising to launch attacks on Boris Johnson.
Stats boffins have ticked off the Labour leader for twice levelling the charge at the PM – and said dodgy data risks denting public confidence.
Watchdog boss Sir David Norgrove slapped down Sir Keir in a terse letter pointing out offences have actually been falling.
HOAR revealed earlier this month that exasperated Tory policing minister Kit Malthouse lodged an official complaint lashing out at fishy figures.
It came after Sir Keir claimed during PMQs in April that “crime is going up” – before doubling down at last week’s Queen’s Speech that “violent crime has doubled since 2015”.
Stern Sir David today corrected: “Total crime levels have been falling since the mid-1990s, including last year.”
And he said that violent crime has dropped by more than a quarter in the past five years.
The stats guru urged Sir Keir to stick to crime survey data – and recalled also stressing the importance of this to Jeremy Corbyn.
Labour insisted police recorded crime was a common way to count offences.
But Sir David warned: “The risk with the statements you made is that people may be alarmed by figures that do not reflect reality, which could affect their behaviour and lead to pressure for policy changes not supported by the data.”
A Tory source said: “We are pleased Sir Keir has been slapped on the wrists for his misleading comments and hope he won’t repeat his wrong and alarming claims.”
A Labour spokesperson said: “Police Recorded Crime is a widely used measure, including by the Policing Minister himself.
“The Conservative Party should stop trying to deflect from its poor record over the last 11 years and focus on keeping our communities safe.”