September 04, 2007

The British Crime Survey

The British Crime Survey, it comes out every year and is the governments favoured measure of crime. It is based around interviewing a random sampling of people and asking them about their experiences. Every year since 1995 it reports an overall fall in crime and every year the methodology used to is hotly debated.

I now know how much they value people participating in it, the price of a book of 6 first class stamps. I know this because I also now know one of those random samples, as it was me. When I got my letter instructing me that I was going to take part in their survey (whether I wanted to or not, as it also told me that once an address has been selected it cannot be deselected) it included said book of stamps as a gift to compensate me for my time. Well its better than a kick in the teeth from a drunken yob, but still bit less than the minimum wage for 40 minutes of my time.

There where a few questions about crime that I have experienced in the last year, but more about my feelings about crime. I answered honestly, as I always do, and stated that I don't have much fear of crime because I live in a fairly safe neighborhood. One of the questions was on the fear of terrorism, which again I answered honestly stating that I have none. Terrorism simply isn't an issue.

There was also a sequence of questions that you filled in yourself rather than telling the person conducting the interview, these where exclusively about sex and drugs. So if the number and variety of drugs that the survey claims to be taken seems a little high when the numbers come out you will know whom to blame. The sex part was a bit weird, it was obsessed with anal rape. It was recorded on a computer and there must have been at least 5 screens asking again and again whether I had been taken up the ass without consent. The answer being no, again and again, as despite my looks (think Joseph Merrick on a bad hair day) somehow people seem to find a way of restraining themselves.


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