2 Comments »Posted on Saturday 23 May 2009 at 7:00 pm by Jacob Aron
In Getting It Wrong, Mathematics

A policewoman has come up with a formula designed to increase public confidence in the police. I would have gone with catching criminals and not accidentally killing members of the public, but then what do I know about policing?

Chief Constable Julia Hodson of the Nottinghamshire Police suggests that her formula CE+CI+CS+VCxC = PC is the solution to policing problems. A quick run down of the variables:

  • CE: Community Engagement
  • CI: Critical Incidents
  • CS: Customer Satisfaction
  • VC: Volume Crime
  • C:Communication
  • PC: Public Confidence

You know the drill. Like all “formula fors” we have unquantifiable variables, nonsense algebra, and a completely useless equation. Hilariously, the Daily Mail describe the formula as an “Einstein-style mathematical equation”. Maybe it’s all the “C”s? Who knows.

If you could somehow measure all of these variables, the formula still doesn’t make sense. Why do you multiply Volume Crime by Communication? What on earth is that meant to mean? Hodson has degrees in both law and social policy, but along with everyone else offering “formula fors”, she could probably do with retaking GCSE Maths.

My new friends, the TaxPayer’s Alliance, have also criticised the formula. They make a bit more sense than when they were quacking on about ducks, with TPA Research Director Matthew Sinclair offering this:

“With the high crime rates in Nottinghamshire the Chief Constable’s time might be better spent working out how to bring criminals to justice rather than concocting dodgy algebra that wouldn’t pass muster even in a grade-inflated GCSE exam.

“This is exactly the kind of nonsense that makes the public wonder whether the police share their priorities, and undermines the public confidence which the formula is supposed to bolster.”

The TPA seem to be worming their way in to a number of news stories at the moment. An organisation to watch out for I think.

As for Chief Constable Julia Hodson and her nonsense formula, it appears that Nottinghamshire police are currently looking for a Scientific Support Manager Opportunity. They want someone to “drive the strategic direction of scientific support and deliver continuous improvements in the quality of forensic service provided to colleagues and the people of Nottinghamshire.” Perhaps providing a few maths lessons on the side wouldn’t hurt either.


  1. 2 Comments

  2. Pray tell, what units is public confidence measured in? I reckon CE+CI+CS+VCxC = PC (Pretentious Codswallop!)

    By Colin Stuart on Saturday 23 May, 2009 at 7:33 pm

  3. The only formula the good citizens of Notts. understand is the crime reduction advice on my Two Steps Ahead card.395 000 have been distributed to all householders in the county.
    Now we are taking it into schools.
    Google Two Steps Ahead and see what it is all about.

    By Don Read on Sunday 24 May, 2009 at 8:02 am

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