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Crime Of The Century - A Chilling Look At Crime Statistics In The UK


I quite often get jobs put on my desk describing what has happened and asking ‘should this really be recorded?’ I have to tell them there is a victim who has complained of a crime, it needs to be recorded. The fact that the victims don’t want to tell you what’s happened, you know, this doesn’t really matter, it’s a reported crime [sarcastically].


But there’s a couple of kids that have had a sort of a pushing game in the playground, you know, and it’s now an assault.


The police service is criminalising people. A so-called crime’s been reported so you have to crime it in accordance with the National Crime Recording Standards. You can’t get rid of it.


There’s an offender so the way you resolve it is by cautioning him because the senior management don’t want an undetected violent crime.


An example provided by a detective manager who, exceptionally, had resisted pressure to caution a juvenile to gain a sanction detection illustrates the type of offence repeatedly described in the groups.


I have cases where a crime has come to me from HQ suggesting I review my decision. What was the last one? Oh, a complaint of assault. This young lad was running in a school corridor, aiming for his friend. He tripped over, missed his friend and bumped into a girl who pushed another girl into the wall and she banged herself and bruised her arm on the wall. There was no malice and it was not intentional but it had been crimed up as an assault on her. After I read it I wrote it off. I said, ‘we will not be cautioning this offence. Please advise as to his behaviour in the future but I do not consider myself in the business of criminalising children for basically messing about’. Many officers placed in that situation would have felt obliged to caution the juvenile.


The high yield from ‘other violence against the person' offences


The Home Office Statistical Bulletin for 2006/07 reveals the contribution which sanction detections for this type of violence against the person offence contributes to the total of sanction detections for selected key crimes (Nicholas et al, 2007: Appendix 3 Table A.05).


In 2006/7 sanction detections for ‘other violence against the person’ which includes assault without injury, harassment, and less serious wounding, provided 34.2 per cent of all sanction detections. Sanction detections for harassment alone provided 11.7 per cent of all sanction detections in that year. These statistics also support what the groups stated about the use of the alternatives to charge as a quick-win outcome. In only 47 per cent of ‘other violence against the person’ cases was the sanction detection achieved by charge or summons. It was even lower in the harassment cases (39 per cent). Forty-four per cent of these cases of harassment were dealt with by way of a penalty notice for disorder (Nicholas, op cit).


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