According to the Daily Mail, a 30,000 strong "census police force" will be used to chase up those who have failed to respond to the census questionnaire.
"The enforcement army will be deployed early next month as the first wave of an operation costing hundreds of millions of pounds to try to ensure no home in the country fails to comply with the census".
I wonder . . . . . . . ?
Will they be like social workers, who in the main are happy to go to homes in well kept middle-class housing estates and harass normally law-abiding parents over some triviality? Will they go to the sink estates where even the police won't venture alone or without body armour? Will they go to the immigrant ghettos where we most need accurate information as to numbers? What threat will a £1000 fine be to someone on benefits who decides not to comply?
And more to the point, what are they going to do to ensure that people tell the truth anyway?
With an interest in family history, my wife and I have traced our ancestors in all the censuses (shouldn't it be censii ?) from 1841 to 1911, and rarely do two consecutive censuses agree, in spite of the small amount of information requested. Some "errors" were probably lack of knowledge such as their not knowing their birthplace or even their true age (or perhaps they couldn't subtract). With others, it is clear that they were downright lies, particularly regarding family relationships, and the describing of "boarders" who presumably pay rent as "visitors" who don't!
All in all, a total waste of money, although I have no doubt that there will be a few high profile court cases to "prove" how efficient they are.
Perhaps we need to amend the old saying to "There are lies, dammed lies, statistics and censuses"!
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