Whatever the prison policy of our government, one thing is clear. If policing is not effective, then it completely undermines the good work that our prisons service can do. Thus, the analysis of policing methods is critical to understanding how to reduce crime. One thing appears to be clear: policing has become less effective.
One must simply look at the reported crimes and conviction rates. In some of the more serious crimes, such as rape, robbery or serious injury, the number of reported crimes have increased many times over, yet the number of convictions have increased only slightly. For example, the conviction rate for rape in 1980 was 38%, yet last year it was only 5.5%. Clearly there is more to this than meets the eye, which is why further research in this area is needed, but it is difficult to deny statistics such as these.
Coult it be that a reduced number of police is responsible for their reduced effectiveness? Looking at US national statistics, one can draw some rather telling conclusions. The number of police of officers per capita, which is tracked by the FBI and reported annually, increased by 50,000 – 60,000 of officers, or roughly 14 percent, in the 1990s. It was then shown that the increase in police between 1991 and 2001 accounted for a crime reduction of 5-6 percent across the board. The increase in police can thus explain somewhere between 10-20% of the overall decline in crime over this period. In Europe, it was shown that 28% of the variation in crime levels between different countries could be accounted for by variations in their policing levels. So what has happened to the number of police in the UK? And has there been any analysis of how recent reforms, whereby police appear to be spending more and more time doing admininstration, have changed the effectiveness of policing?
These questions need to be asked, and this is something we will do over the coming months.
This section is relatively new, and more content will be added over the coming months.