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News Archives: Index

October 7, 2010: Probation Set For Industrial Action

October 5, 2010: Turning Prisoners Into Taxpayers

October 4, 2010: Murder Changes Now In Force

September 20, 2010: Probation Programmes Face Cuts

August 24, 2010: Victorian Poor Law Records Online

August 10, 2010: Justice Job Cuts

July 28, 2010: Prison Violence Growing

July 22, 2010: Police Numbers: Latest Figures

July 22, 2010: New Jurisdiction Rules

July 16, 2010: CCJS On Prison And Probation Spending Under Labour

July 15, 2010: Latest Statistics On Violent And Sexual Crime

July 15, 2010: Latest National Crime Figures

July 15, 2010: New Chief Prisons Inspector

July 14, 2010: Hard Times Ahead For Prisons: Anne Owers

July 14, 2010: Prison Does Not Work: Ken Clarke

July 13, 2010: Criminal Justice Reform: Sentencing and Rehabilitation

July 13, 2010: Criminal Justice Reform Priorities

July 12, 2010: What Price Public Protection, Asks Probation Chief Inspector

July 12, 2010: NOMS has failed, says Napo

July 10, 2010: IPCC To Investigate Death of Raoul Moat

July 9, 2010: Women In Prison: New Report

July 9, 2009: Unjust Deserts: Imprisonment for Public Protection

July 8, 2010: Police Search Powers Change

July 7, 2010: Make 'Legal High' Illegal, Says ACMD

July 2, 2010: Failing Children In Prison

July 2, 2010: Police Buried Under a Blizzard of Guidance: HMIC

July 1, 2010: Freedom To Change The Law?

June 30, 2010: A New Outlook On Penal Reform?

June 30, 2010: Revolving Door Of Offending Must Stop, Says Clarke

June 30, 2010: Ken Clarke: Speech on Criminal Justice Reform

June 29, 2010: No More Police Targets

June 26, 2010: Family Intervention Projects Questioned

June 25, 2010: Cutting Criminal Justice

June 24, 2010: Napo on Sex Offenders Report

June 23, 2010: Closing Courts: The Cuts Begin

June 23, 2010: Strategy To Tackle Gangs

June 15, 2010: Courts and Mentally Disordered Offenders

June 8, 2010: Working With Muslims in Prison

June 1, 2010: Your Chance To Nominate a QC

January 3, 2005: UK Policing Claimed To Be Amongst World's Worst

A study from social policy think-tank Civitas claims that Britain has both one of the highest crime rates in the developed world, and one of the most ineffective police forces. The report, entitled Cultures and Crimes: Policing in Four Nations, is authored by Norman Dennis and George Erdos of the University of Newcastle..

It attempts to compare the policing methods of Britain, France, Germany and the USA and suggests that all four countries witnessed steep rises in crime and anti-social behaviour following the cultural revolution of the 1960s, which according to the authors broke down shared norms of acceptable behaviour.

The report argues that the USA, France and Germany have all made a more effective job of combating rising crime than Britain. According to Civitas:

“Dennis and Erdos expose the falsity of Home Office claims, repeated like mantras, that in Britain 'crime is low', 'crime is at historically low levels' and 'crime is falling'”.

Civitas argues that in 1964 in England and Wales there were 72,000 domestic burglaries; in 2003/04 there were 402,000. It and points out there are now five domestic burglaries for every one domestic burglary in 1964, in spite of a great intensification of security measures being taken by private householders to protect their own homes. In 1955 fewer than 500,000 crimes were recorded by the police in England and Wales. By the end of the 1960s there were over 1.5 million. By the end of the 1970s there were 2.7 million.

They argue that while crime has been rising, police numbers have not kept pace. In 1921 there were 57,000 police officers dealing with 103,000 crimes - two crimes per officer. In 2002/2003 there were 134,000 police officers dealing with 5,899,000 crimes - 44 per officer.

Dennis and Erdos argue that a fundamental problem with offending is the loss of internalised moral principles that prevent people from committing crimes in the first place. They claim that the rise in lawlessness reflects a decline in shared values, and attribute this to the cultural revolution of the 1960s, which they argue subverted many institutions through which moral capital was generated - in particular, the family based on marriage. Adopting a viewpoint which is strongly contested, they suggest that young people who grow up in troubled and dysfunctional households in which moral values are not inculcated, who live in communities in which the influence of religious faith is negligible, will – they suggest - naturally be drawn towards the self-gratification and situational ethics that predominate in contemporary culture:

'Crime and disorder lie in the loss column of the profit-and-loss account of the material and cultural changes experienced by the rich and free societies of the West. Crime and disorder are not accidental and disposable aspects of post-1960s society. They are part of the price that has been paid for its advantages.'

Many criminologists would take issue with this perspective. It does not appear to properly consider either changes in police methods of recording crime or changes in how crime is reported by the public. It also fails to draw upon the authoritative British Crime Survey (BCS) for its conclusions.