Jeremy Corbyn has been rebuked by the chairman of the UK’s statistics watchdog over his claim that violence had “doubled” under the Conservatives.
Sir David Norgrove told the Labour leader it was a “complicated area”.
Mr Corbyn made the remark at Labour’s manifesto launch on 22 November, blaming a rise in crime on the Conservatives’ “austerity programme”.
In response to Sir David, Labour said the Tories could not be trusted “to fix the crisis they have caused”.
In a letter addressed to Mr Corbyn, Sir David wrote: “I understand that you were referring to increases in the number of violent offences recorded by police forces.
“This is a complicated area, with two main sources of data.”
The best measure for overall violent crime is the Crime Survey for England and Wales, he wrote, which showed little change in recent years.
This measure “is not affected by changes in recording practices and police activity”, he wrote.
“However, while police-recorded crime has significant limitations, it is better suited than the Crime Survey to measuring trends in some of the more harmful crimes that occur in relatively low volumes.”
Labour based its claim on police recorded instances of all “violence against the person” offences, which rose from 630,000 in 2013-14 to nearly 1.7 million in 2018-19.
But those figures included less serious crimes and the UK Statistics Authority said the crime survey is more reliable for those purposes.
In response, a Labour Party spokesperson said the Conservatives “seem more concerned with writing letters than fighting crime”, although the watchdog is an independent body.
“You cannot trust the Tories to fix the crisis they have caused,” the party said.