Examining The Formal And Informal Poicys Criminology Essay

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There are many both formal and informal policy makers on different levels. It can be argued that the real policy makers are the media or the non political bureaucracy that survives any political elections. In this paper the policy makers are the politicians given the formal authority to influence or determine policies and practices in The Criminal Justice System. In a year of election of Parliament it can be hard for the politicians to keep their focus on what matters. They will have to choose wisely to be able to avoid an increase in crime and at the same time maintain support from the public. The policy makers will have to decide what they will make their key challenges.

In 2010 The Criminal Justice System in England and Wales are facing multiple challenges on different levels. Some could argue that money always is the one main key challenge. Without money, good intentions and plans for decreasing crime and to find and punish those who commit criminal acts will be just that, intentions and plans. Others would claim that the tree key challenges will have to be an improvement in law enforcement and enhancements in both the court- and the correctional system.

This essay will argue that there are three types of crime that are the key challenges for the policy makers in 2010.

Property crime

Property crime involves the taking of money or property and includes burglary, vehicle-related theft, other thefts and vandalism. Within the numbers from police recorded crime also fraud and forgery are specified. Robbery is considered to be a violent crime and therefore not included in the statistics on property crime.

Property crime is the crime that directly affects most people directly. In the statistics propert crime was on its peak in 1995 (HomeOffice, 2009). Since then there has been 58 % less burglaries, vehicle related thefts are down 65 % and there are 18 % less vandalism according to BCS. Much of the decrease can be explained by the use of new or improved security measures, like alarms and CCTV surveillance. There have been established new tools of detecting stolen property. Interpol is the world�s largest international police organization, with 188 member countries. They have introduced different databases where their member countries are expected to register different types og property crimes. One example is the Stolen Motor Vehicle database. At the end of 2009 there was 6.2 million vehicles in that database (Interpol-a, 2010) and the risk of being caught driving a stolen car across international borders are now higher than ever. The ways the police work are also changing. In Vancouver, Canada, they have good experience with identifying those that commit property crimes. Back in 2004 they discovered that most of these crimes are committed by a small number of persons who steal three or four times a day, usually to sustain their drug habits (Vancouver-Police-Department, 2008). The police identified and target these repeat offenders, and in Vancouver more than 400 men and women are now on The Chronic Offender Units current list. When chronic offenders are caught, the goal is to keep them in jail as long as possible to maintain the immediate safety of the public�s property. Usually these offenders got short sentences. When the police analyzed their experiences in 2008, they found that the chronic offenders after sentenced 30 times, the custodial sentences actually did not get longer, but shorter. As the number of convictions increases, the offenders are now given successively longer sentences. There has been a 10 % decrease in property crimes in Vancouver since they imitated The Chronic Offender Unit (CTV, 2010).

Depending on either the British Crime Survey (BCS) or police recorded crime, property crime still accounts for the majority, between 80% and 71% respectively, of all crimes committed in England and Wales (HomeOffice, 2009).

The BCS is a survey where adults aged 16 and above are asked about their experiences of crime, while the police recorded crimes are data based on recorded crimes against individuals and also domestic and commercial property (HomeOffice, 2009). Though the methods on collecting data are different, their results have mirrored each other reasonably well in recent years. Key factors as to whether property crime is reported or whether property is insured are considered carefully within the statistics. As in previous years, there are some differences between results from the two sources. The most noteworthy difference is for the offences of theft from the person and bicycle thefts. The BCS shows increases of 25 % in theft from the person and a 22 % increase in bicycle thefts compared with the previous survey. In contrast, thefts from the person recorded by the police fell by 12 %, while there was no change in thefts of bikes. There are statistical rationalizations for some of the difference between the two measures, but it cannot explain it all.

With the above numbers in mind, it can be argued that the public are not reporting everyday crimes to the police at the same rate as before. There could be many answers to why this happens. In the BCS victims are asked why they did not report an episode to the police. The most common answer was that they felt the incident to trivial or they assumed that the police would or could not achieve much by knowing about the episode (HomeOffice, 2009). It could be that property now are not considered as valuable as before, that the cost of replacing stolen items are so low that we just purchase new ones.

For the Criminal Justice System there is one explanation that is dangerous. That is if the public are losing confidence in the police. If this is the case we risk that the public are taking the law in their own hands. The consequence could again lead to a lawless society where the formal policy makers have little influence.

To avoid this, the policy makers should take the statistics seriously and keep making property crimes a key challenge.

Crimes against the environment

In published work the terminology ecological-, green-, environmental- and conservation criminology are used alike to describe a concern for crimes against the environment.

Environmental crimes are a severe and increasing international challenge which appears in many different ways. It spans from illegal trade in wildlife, the illicit storage of hazardous wastes, to illegal fishing and the trade in illegal logged timber. And, as an example, illegal logging contributes to deforestation, which again is known to be a main contributor to climate change. Another example is the illegal emissions of pollutants into the air. The UN has calculated that every year, more than two million people die before expected from causes of air pollution (Interpol-b, 2010). Furthermore, illegal air emissions reduce the amount of arable land far away from the source of the pollution. This again is causing diseases, hunger and economic disorder (Interpol-b, 2010).

The Directive 2008/99/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 November 2008 on the protection of the environment through criminal law have to be transposed by the member states by December 2010. This is done to assist the implementation and toughen the enforcement of environmental laws. The Member States are required to supply criminal sanctions for the most severe environmental offences.

There are several issues that are described within this branch of the criminology. In brief there are three key problem areas of environmental harm (White, 2008). These are the challenge of climate change, the difficulty of waste and pollution and the problem of biodiversity (White, 2008).

There a several environmental harms that are evident, but the most pressing issue facing the Earth is that of climate change and of global warming. This also applies to the field of criminology (White, 2010).

The global warming challenge differs from other social problems because it is a global problem. Because of pollution the ozone layer that protects our atmosphere from the heat of the sun are getting thinner. As a result the polar ice is melting and causes rising of sea level. Due to this, we can whole countries can get flooded (e.g. The Maldives) and that biodiversity will change and also decline globally. And the rate and scale of the decline of the biodiversity is increasing. Roughly one per cent of the biodiversity within all species and ecosystems is lost each year, except in areas where biodiversity is already low. There, the general trend appears to be towards increasing rates of loss (Schei-Kater�s, 2010). As one example, the polar bears are dependent on sea ice hunt, eat and move across greater distances to mate. If the sea ice disappear, so will the polar bears.

It is essential that we all know of the threat of environmental crimes and act upon our knowledge. To pollute less we can recycle more of the waste our consumptions are creating. An example is that in Oslo, Norway, it is considered a criminal act to throw regular cadmium batteries in the ordinary trash bins and those caught will be given a substantial fine.

On a higher level, the governments have a responsibility to encourage their citizens to reduce their pollutions. As a result, in Norway, battery driven, electric cars are exempt VAT to encourage the sale. These cars are allowed to drive in bus-lanes and are excepted from paying toll on roads. They are given free parking in both public and private car parks, were they also often are given the opportunity to charge their cars for free. The reward is less pollution and better air quality.

Environmental crimes have become lucrative business and are currently one of the most money-making forms of criminal activity that are taking place all over the world. And it is an increasing challenge (Interpol-b, 2010). Environmental crime must be taken seriously on all levels, from locally to globally. It can be tackled effectively only with a combined commitment and action of governments, international organizations, law enforcement agencies and the private sector across the world (Interpol-b, 2010).

Actions must be taken now to prevent harms associated with global warming, further pollution and threats to the Earths biodiversity. The goal is no less than the survival of our Earth and the human kind.

Terrorism

On June 6, 2005, the Londoners celebrated that their city was chosen for hosting the 2012 Olympic Summer Games. At 08:50 the next morning, three bombs exploded within fifty seconds of each other on three different London Underground trains. A fourth bomb exploded an hour later on a double-decker bus in Tavistock Square. The bombings were carried out by four suicide bombers. The four men all died in the attack. They also killed another 52 people and about 700 were injured.

There is no single definition of terrorism that is internationally approved (Carlisle, 2007). Much of the reason why is for the worldwide communities is to clarify whether a cause is legitimate. Internationally there are different opinions on who are the actual terrorists. To draw a picture of this, it is commonly said that �one man's terrorist, another's freedom fighter�. The word terrorism comes from the Latin word �terror�. This also indicates what the public commonly perceive as terrorism, a use of threat or violence to achieve a goal in a cause (Carlisle, 2007).

Terrorism is a key challenge in 2010. There are several factors and reasons to support this statement. First is the actual threat aimed towards The United Kingdom. A system of threat levels has been introduced to keep the public up to date about the level of threat the UK faces from terrorism. It is Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre within The Security Service (MI5) that together set the threat level. There are five levels of threat, ranging from �low� to �critical.� The current level (May 2010) is set to �severe�, which indicates that �an attack is highly likely�(MI5).

The threat of international terrorism comes from a diverse range of sources, including Al Qaida with their associated networks and also others who share their beliefs. Domestic terrorism related to Northern Ireland, also remains a threat. As a current example, a unit of the Real IRA claimed to be behind two car-bombs outside Newtownhamilton police station in Northern Ireland during April 2010. One of the bombs exploded and two people got minor injuries in the blast.

�The terrorist threat can take a number of forms, as terrorists may use a variety of methods of attack to achieve their objectives. These may include explosive devices, firearms, missiles, kidnapping, infiltration and electronic attacks (MI5)�.

The London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games will be arranged during six weeks late summer in just two years. It promises to be the greatest sporting events in UK and maybe the world�s history, but also and because of that, a magnificent target for terrorists who need internationally publicity for their cause.

The Games will include more than 14000 athletes from 200 nations competing at over 30 venues in London and in other cities across England. It is expected to sell about 9 million tickets to the Games, 20000 media representatives and a unknown, large numbers of VIPs from all over the world (HomeOffice, 2010).

The security planning and incorporation is taken seriously. In March 2007 Ministers agreed on funding a total of �823 millions to make the Games the safest ever. (HomeOffice, 2010)

Biometric hand and iris scanners are already operative on the Olympic building sites, preventing personnel who have no legitimate right of accessing the parks during the constructional work. As workers pass through the biometric readers, their hands or eyes are rapidly scanned and matched to the image stored digitally on the pass.

By the end of 2010 there will be more than 9000 workers building the Olympic Arenas.

The aims for the security are �to deliver a safe and secure Games, in keeping with the Olympic culture and spirit.� They can learn from others experience. In 1972 the Munich Olympic Summer Games was hit by terrorist and killed 11 Israeli athletes at coaches.

The security job is not over until the Games are over.

Conclusion

There are more than 400 000 employers in The Criminal Justice System I England and Wales (CJS, 2010). They all share the goal of �Working together to cut crime and deliver justice� (CJS, 2010). One of the key goals are to improve the effectiveness and efficiency in bringing offences to justice. To improve effectiveness, there will always be a debate about founding. Therefore money will always be considered a key challenge within the Criminal Justice System.

The challenge is for the policy makers to make the right decisions and priorities, and not decide sudden changes in priorities due to circumstances. It must be tempting for the elected policy makers, especially in an election year, to promise the public something they want (e.g. �tougher on crime�), even though you know by experience that there are other incentives (e.g. �more treatment�) that would help society better in the long run.

This essay has argued that property crime, environmental crimes and terrorism are three key challenges facing policy makers in the Criminal Justice System in England and Wales in 2010.

Some lessons that can be usefully learned from elsewhere have been cited.

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