University warns of ‘seriously misleading’ election manifestos


A University of Bedfordshire academic has warned that proposals to cut crime in the general election manifestos of the five main political parties are ‘seriously misleading.’

The report, from Prof Jon Silverman, details how politicians make unsubstantiated claims about the causes of crime.

It also claims that their proposals for reducing it are lacking in substance and ignore the available evidence.

The report claims that party promises regarding crime policy are unrealistic
The report claims that party promises regarding crime policy are unrealistic


It states that Labour, the Conservatives, the Liberal Democrats, UKIP and the Green Party “wrongly assume crime has a single root cause and favour headline-grabbing measures to tackle it.”

The guide, released yesterday, brings together experts, including the former ‘Crimewatch’ presenter, Nick Ross, to share insights from reliable evidence with the aim of “revealing how superficial the political debate on crime is.”

Professor Jon Silverman said: “Media and politicians have colluded to short-change the public about understanding crime and what works to reduce it.

“This analysis is a long overdue corrective.”

Prateek Buch, director of the Evidence Matters campaign at Sense About Science, added: “Politicians of all stripes, journalists and think tanks make sweeping statements about the causes of crime and policies to tackle it.

“The best available evidence says they’re wrong, so instead of being misled or having wool pulled over our eyes, it’s time for people to ask for evidence behind crime policy and demand that public figures take account of reliable evidence.”

Published alongside the guide is a ‘crime exaggeration checklist’, designed to help the public spot misleading statements on crime in the run up to May’s general election.