Examining The High Crime Rate In Britain Criminology Essay

Published: Last Edited:

This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

Britain has been experiencing increased rates of crimes in the previous decade. Why might UK be suffering such high degrees of crime? It is not difficult to guess. Officials at almost every level of the UK criminal justice system including prison officials, probation officers and judges complain that few criminals are incarcerated and that those who are arrested hardly obtain sentences that will serve as a deterrent. Inadequate resources and bureaucracy hinder police efforts: the typical time to process an arrest in some places such as London is ten hours and the actual number of documents that should be filled averages nearly 35(Berlinski 2009, 1). Home Office statistics indicate that police in Wales and England spend only roughly 13% of their total time on patrol and 20% on paperwork (Berlinski 2009, 1). Probably as a consequence, more than 66 percent of break-ins reported to the London police officers are by no means investigated, according to police statistics released under the Freedom of Information Act. Less than 10 percent lead to an arrest. And in cases where an arrest results to a conviction, it is improbable to include real punishment. It is common for a thief to be arrested thirty times a year, taken to court twenty times a year, and penalized with a fine which is pointless, because they cannot pay. There is no probability that with minor-level crimes one will go to prison. It is not that they cannot pay; it is that they in most of the cases do not and the system does not push the point. In fact, there was the case of a burglar convicted 57 times. The thief was fined 50 pounds, payable in five-pound payment, considerably less than an important person in a legitimate business, making a similar amount of cash would pay in taxes (Berlinski 2009, 1). In essence, reduced arrest rates and failure of the justice system to mete out sentences that will serve as a deterrent has largely contributed to increased crime rates.

Reported Cases

British government is noticeably at odds popular opinion. Backed by Britain’s most famous criminologists, the government remains adamant that the state has, in fact, been experiencing a period of reducing crime since record-keeping started. Indeed, it argues, the quick and sustained rise in crime that started in the late 1950s has been completely reversed: crime reached climax in the year1995 but has since fallen by 48% (Berlinski 2009, 1). However, the dark figure of crime generally escapes accurate assessment. This is because for a criminal act to be officially remunerated, three things happen: someone has to be aware that a crime has been perpetrated; the crime should be reported, and the law enforcement agencies must acknowledge that a law has been contravened. But every link in the chain is effortlessly broken. Citizens may be unaware that a criminal act has been perpetrated because they perceive it as trivial or normal behavior: in some locality, it would appear perfectly ordinary to solve a conflict with a brawl (Jerry and Kathi 2008, 446). Other criminal acts may go unreported because the victims are ignorant that they have been actually victimized either due to the scenery of the crime such as deception, or because the victims are mentally ill, drunk or otherwise not able to comprehend what has happened.

Even in situations when the victims know that crimes have been perpetrated, they may fail to report it. People such as immigrants or children who do not speak the language properly enough to elaborate what actually happened to them. In fact rapes can go unreported because the victims feel ashamed. Victimless crimes involving drugs and sex also go unreported because the perpetrators have no or little motivation to inform the law enforcement agencies that they are shooting up. Also, crimes can also go unreported because victims dread reprisals. Most notably, crimes can go unreported because victims feel no confidence in the police force and view reporting a criminal act as pointless. The criminal justice structure is failing to fulfill its appropriate function, which is to put together fair punishment, maintenance of citizen confidence and crime reduction. As an alternative, it is expensive, wasteful and results to unnecessary harm to both perpetrators and victims. Since the year 1997, the prison populace has improved by 35 percent (Berlinski 2009, 1). Rates of reconviction have reduced by about 5 percent in this era according to NOMS statistics, while rates of aggressive crime have stayed virtually unchanged. Rates of reconviction for youth run at over forty percent within one year of release (Berlinski 2009, 1). In the meantime, the public believes that rates of crime are improving and victims of criminal acts have lost faith in the idea that prisons have rehabilitative value.

Justice System Failure

It is a statistic that is frequently quoted, and nevertheless fails to surprise: of all claims of rape documented by the police officers, only 6.5 percent leads to a conviction. The figure is 34 percent in general crimes (Williams 2009, 1). It is estimated that between 75 and 95 percent of rapes are never reported. The poor rate persists in spite of a string of programs, including novel policy guidelines, expressly trained prosecutors and police officers and an expansion of referral centers where some victims are sent for medical care and forensic examination. Campaigners and experts argue that the problem originates from prejudices and a failure at all phases of the justice system, from the time when a complaint is made to the time trial begins (Borrell 1975, 66). It may begin with police officers who are skeptical concerning the victim’s narration, probably because she has been on a drinking spree or was abused her partner, and either discharge the complaint or make minute effort to carry out further investigations (Bohm & Haley2009, 21). In addition, prosecutors might be unwilling to take a specific case to courts where they fear the victim dos not have credibility. Juries, mirroring a belief amongst the citizens in rape myths can be unwilling to convict. Studies have found that around 33 percent of people in Britain are of the view that a woman is wholly or partially responsible for being abused sexually if she has behaved in a flirtatious manner (Bohm & Haley2009, 21). Surprisingly, roughly the same figure believes she should be allowed to shoulder some responsibility if she was drunk.

Unfavorable Environment

It is clear that while around 60 percent of all cases that reach courtrooms result to a conviction, most of them resulting from a guilty plea. A quarter or less of all those put on trial for rape are convicted following a triumphant trial (Williams 2009, 1). But the worst section for the abrasion rate occurs during the police investigation, following the report of the criminal act but prior to any charge. Only 25 percent of accusations end up in courtrooms. Home Office study found that the most common rationales charges were not brought were unsatisfactory evidence in 40 percent of cases and the sufferer withdrawing her complaint, in 35 percent of cases (Williams 2009, 1). The Without Consent account, published in the year 2007 by the self-regulating inspectorates for the police and Crown Prosecution Service, was extremely critical of the manner in which prosecuting and police authorities deal with rape instances, finding that most officers had modest specialist training and lacked consciousness of the need to follow the applicable guidance(Williams 2009, 1). Delays, unlikable environments, unfortunate behavior by professionals, insensitive questioning and disbelieving or judgmental attitudes were all found to have been imposed on victims.

The monetary cost of damage caused by crimes and dealing with perpetrators is vast. The home Office estimates that cost at 60 billion pounds yearly (The Young Foundation 2003, 1). This comprises an increase from 2 percent of Gross Domestic Product to 2.5 percent over the previous decade, a greater per capita level compared to United States or European Union country. The Social Exclusion Unit approximated that re-offending by released prisoners alone cost the taxpayers 11 billion pounds yearly (The Young Foundation 2003, 1).. The cost of a single prison place is thought to be over 40,000 pounds per year per adult and much greater for young offenders. Prison populace estimates show that it is probable to improve to approximately 100,000 by the year 2014, an improvement in cost by 9 billion pounds per year by the year 2014 for just keeping people in custody excluding the greater cost of re-offending and crime(The Young Foundation 2003, 1).. The experiences of individuals who are dispatched to prison are not favorable to their rehabilitation. Some 90 percent of prisoners show signs of at least one of five psychological disorders, approximately 20 percent of heroin addicts first attempt heroin in incarceration, and 75 percent of all prison suicides occur in overcrowded conditions(The Young Foundation 2003, 1)..

The current broadly-implemented pre- as well as post-custodial interventions as well as other method of dealing with the behavior of children under threat are either not effective or lack the faith of the citizens and sentencers. Beyond the criminal justice system, for instance, some Pupil referral units can jeopardize the development of those to them and reinforce patterns of potentially criminal behavior. Within the structure community sentences, while much more effectual than custody, are not properly used and resettlement and post-release work lacks an architectural reliability required to support the systems which reinforce a youth’s journey through life. The effect of education in establishments is assessed in outputs rather than results such as improved financial skills or enhanced capability to find employment upon release.


It is clear that both the justice system and the police have largely contributed to the rising crime rates. Although the British government remains adamant that the state has, in fact, been experiencing a period of reducing crime, most crimes go unreported. This is because citizens are unaware that a criminal act has been perpetrated or because the victims are ignorant that they have been actually victimized. Analysts blame the police’s ineptitude on the unintended impacts of community policing. There was discernment that there were not sufficient beat cop or people who knew the confined area which resulted to sending additional cops to problem areas. But in practice, they ended up attending community liaison and meetings. They are not in point of fact dealing with minor criminal acts. If they were responding to emergency calls and dealing with minor criminal acts instead of doing community cooperation that would without a doubt take a mammoth load off the system, but they are not. The state of affairs calls for a thorough review of the police and the justice system in order to effectively deal with increased crime rates.