Thursday, 15 November 2012

Incentives matter: statistics file

From The Times,
The challenges facing the new breed of politicians who take control of police forces tomorrow were put in sharp focus as five detectives were arrested in an anti-corruption investigation.

The Times can disclose that the officers from Kent Police — four men and a woman — were detained at their police station and questioned over allegations of manipulating statistics in order to meet crime detection targets.

The officers, a detective inspector, a detective sergeant and three detective constables, are accused of persuading suspects to confess to offences they had not committed in order to improve the unit’s performance statistics.
Be careful what targets you set to manage or measure outcomes because as soon as you’ve set them you give people the incentive to game them.

(HT: Tim Worstall)

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