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


In our place they will bring four officers on before a night duty and they can do twenty formal warnings for cannabis possession in a couple of hours. Imagine what those twenty contribute to your sanction detection rate before you start - just out of cannabis!


How are you going to achieve an overall sanction detection rate for next year of 25 per cent? The easiest way to obtain that isn’t to go out and investigate complicated offences and make arrests and then go for charges and all that involves. You are going to go out and get your cannabis possessions. They’re the easiest and you don’t even have to arrest them. I am sure if you took away our cannabis detections our overall sanction detection rate would be worse than it was ten years ago. So performance wise - where it matters - we are actually doing a lot worse but it’s disguised.


Sanction detections for drug offences represented 13.1 per cent of the total sanction detections in 2006/7. Formal warnings for cannabis possession produced 44 per cent of the sanction detections for drug offences and cautions a further 22 per cent (Nicholas, op cit)


One of the major sources of the disaffection of the detectives in this study arises from the fact that their organisation is prepared to invest heavily to achieve quick wins at the expense other areas of criminal investigation. Resources are being diverted from crimes that are considered to be more serious and from offenders who pose a greater threat to public safety: precisely the sort of crimes where a caution, a penalty notice etc would be totally inappropriate as an outcome.


'pressure to meet targets encourages managers to focus on volume crime investigations which are less resource intensive, at the expense of proper investigations of more serious crimes.' (Neyroud and Disley, 2007: 563).


'Housekeeping' and organisational integrity


The groups were highly critical of the perceived duplicity of higher police management who were accused of issuing grand statements about the importance of police integrity but of ignoring the threats to integrity presented by the pressure they put on officers to achieve sanction detection targets.


Let’s also be honest about this, the Powers that Be know what’s going on. OK their guidelines go out and we have data accuracy teams that look at stuff to make sure that we don’t go over the cliff. However, it’s random and that’s deliberate because we’re in a performance culture and whenever you are in any performance culture... as soon as you jump on board that train you can’t get off it. It goes on year after year and it gets tougher and tougher.


What people do under the performance culture they ‘housekeep’ but you can only housekeep to a certain extent and then the following year, particularly when you do well, you get even harder targets. You can’t housekeep like that anymore and that gets you


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