Do you know how the BCS came about? A mate of mine, John Warder, put me in touch (over a pint in a pub in Islington) with a mate of his, Dr Ron Clarke, then Head of HORU, who was thinking of doing a British version of the American one. I arranged a meeting at PNL with Mark Abrams and we persuaded him it was viable. Ron organised a three-day seminar at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, to which he craftily invited more (highly sceptical) police chiefs than social scientists. Mark was brilliant and the seminar gave the go-ahead rto launch the survey.
After various meetings with HORU staff, Roger Jowell and I put in a joint bid, Roger for the fieldwork (by SCPR) and my SRU for the processing and analysis of the data. At the time HORU was being downsized and Roger Tarling of their stats unit claimed that they could do the data handling bit, so Roger got the fieldwork contract and I got nothing. It later transpired that “upstairs” at the Home Office thought PNL a bit too political to be entrusted with the work.
Three years later Mike Hough of HORU came crawling back to me at PNL, clutching a budget of £3,000, and asked if we could create SPSS files and user documentation! Anyway it meant I could hang on to Jim Ring a while longer and I worked unpaid overtime so HORU got £6,000 worth of work for £3,000. The result was:
J F Hall and A M Walker,
User Manual for First British Crime Survey 1982,
Survey Research Unit, Polytechnic of North London, 1985.
I took a copy with me to the ASSESS meeting at York in 2006: Andrew Westlake was amazed.
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