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


When the focus groups were reminded that such offences would probably not be regarded as trivial by the victims they insisted that these incidents should not be treated as priority offences, claiming that in many cases:


• The victims often do not report the offence themselves, for example, fights between pupils are typically reported by schools;


• Often the victims and their parents do not want the police to take formal action; • In the majority of cases the offender is not charged but cautioned or issued with a penalty notice for disorder and this was perceived to be a good indicator of the trivial nature of the offence; and


• These outcomes still criminalise people who are unlikely to have been in trouble with the police before and will probably not commit such offences in the future.


So we’re criminalising a lot of people and bringing them into the justice system who perhaps 10 years ago wouldn’t have entered it. You know, kids fighting in the playground, one of the children now will come out with a criminal caution. Ten years ago we probably wouldn’t have heard anything about an incident like that. If we had dealt with it there would have been no formal action.


High-yield robberies


Many of the robberies detected in 2006/7 did result in a charge or summons (89 per cent) but again the groups repeatedly emphasised that these were typically cases where the offender was identified from the outset because the offender was known to the victim or witnesses to the incident. The majority were described as school-related offences where, for example, small amounts of money and mobile phones had been taken.


Cannabis possession


The discussion of the contribution of detections for the possession of cannabis to the overall sanction detection figures revealed another area where police resources are being targeted inappropriately according to the groups. In one force highly-trained drug squad detectives are now being used to improve the sanction detection rate by concentrating on cannabis possession as opposed to targeting serious offenders who are supplying drugs locally in large quantities.


Our use of cannabis detections is perverse. In this force I reckon we are getting close to probably 8% of our total sanction detection rate is cannabis detection. We have got officers working overtime to get sanction detections for cannabis because all they have to do is seize the cannabis, warn the person, put in a crime report and get the detection. It takes them two minutes rather than the two weeks an average pucker criminal investigation takes. And there’s a lot of it around on the streets so you don’t have to look very far.


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