"North Wales Police Authority has not received this correspondence. Get in touch and I will be happy to look into what went wrong. Our contact details are as set out on our website.
We have not misrepresented anything. The basis of the survey was made explicit: working with the other Police Authorities in Wales we have given an opportunity for the public to express a view. The timetable for consultation was very short, but this is the fault of the Home Office. We submitted interim results by the Home Office deadline, but then we re-opened the survey so that others can have an opportunity. We have now closed the survey and South Wales Police Authority will be analysing the results so that we can publish them.
There is a difference between consultation and research. “Opinion polls” or “Representative Surveys” use sampling techniques to find out what the general public think. Statistical theory suggests that by setting quotas for gender, age, work status, social class and spreading those selected for interview randomly across an area, we are able to question about 1,000 people across an area and find out what they think with a margin of error up to 2 or 3 percentage points either way.
Consultation is when we invite people to express a view. By its very nature, consultation attracts more responses from those people who take an interest in a particular subject. Those responding will not necessarily be representative of the wider public.
We never suggested that this was an opinion poll. The press release was explicit: we have invited people to express a view on the Government's proposals and offered to pass this on to Government. The all-Wales analysis undertaken by South Wales Police Authority does not twist the results - we said they showed that "According to the survey, 41 per cent were opposed to the introduction of a commissioner while less than 30 per cent were in favour". You have misinterpreted the results and said that 45 percent are either in favour or somewhat in favour. It would be equally valid to say that 56% of respondents were either against or somewhat against. We have given full information on the respondents including where they live, gender and ethnicity. The information given on ethnicity is the same as the information given on gender.
North Wales Police Authority has been clear about its own views on the Government's proposals. We are not opposed, but we do have serious concerns. We recognise that there is room for improvement and we are open to change, but we believe that changes should be focused on ensuring high quality, accountable policing, with the involvement of a wide range of stakeholders in agreeing policing priorities and agree that this is best achieved through governance arrangements which promote a consensual, involving approach with appropriate safeguards. See www.nwalespa.org for full details."
Whereas I thank Mr Michael for getting in touch via this blog, and am happy to accept his description of the poll as a 'consultation' rather than a 'representative survey', I continue to take issue with this part of his reply:
"The all-Wales analysis undertaken by South Wales Police Authority does not twist the results - we said they showed that "According to the survey, 41 per cent were opposed to the introduction of a commissioner while less than 30 per cent were in favour". You have misinterpreted the results and said that 45 percent are either in favour or somewhat in favour. It would be equally valid to say that 56% of respondents were either against or somewhat against."
Mr Michael's argument entirely rests on how you interpret the following results:
My interpretation is that the number of respondents either "in favour" (29 percent) or "somewhat in favour" (16 percent) comes to a total of 45 percent -- a larger number than those against (41 percent). However, according to Mr Michael, the pinkish wedge in the top left labeled "somewhat" does not mean "somewhat in favour" but actually "neither in favour or against". Accordingly Mr Michael asserts that it is equally valid to say that the total number of respondents against the proposal is 57 percent, including "against" (41 percent) and "somewhat against" (16 percent).
I'm sorry, Mr Michael, but this is clearly not the case. Even your own Executive Summary of the survey (page 2) states that the 16 percent figure represents "somewhat in favour":
If, as you assert, I have "misinterpreted the results", then I'm afraid that the author of your own report has also "misinterpreted the results".
It seems clear to me therefore that my interpretation is the correct one and more respondents favour the proposal for elected police commissioners than are against it -- in direct contrast to how the results are presented. I will leave it to readers to decide whether the SWPA and NWPA have tried to "twist" the results of the survey to create a false impression of the level of support for the Police Commissioner proposals in Wales.
I also note, Mr Michael, that your reply does not address the fact that there was only 82 respondents to the poll from North Wales -- yet following a briefing by the NWPA this is how the Daily Post reported the interim survey results on 18th September:
"OPPOSITION is growing to the idea of having an elected commissioner in charge of police in North Wales. The interim results of a survey show a majority of people are against the proposal which is part of a package of reforms being put forward by the Government"
Can you kindly explain how a survey of just 82 people throughout North Wales -- which shows even according to your own executive summary that more people are either "in favour" or "somewhat in favour" than against -- gets written up as "OPPOSITION is growing to the idea of having an elected commissioner in charge of police in North Wales"?