Crime and justice chart of the week

Chart: In five years, crime-related demands on police have almost doubled

One way to understand crime-related demands on police forces is to track ‘crime pressure’, a measure of investigative workload representing the number of crimes reported to a force per officer, weighted according to Office for National Statistics estimates of the relative severity of different crimes. In the past five years, this measure has risen in every police force in England and Wales, and has doubled in many places. larger image | annotated R code to produce this chart

Chart: Young offenders are more likely to re-offend than adults

Most people convicted of a crime will not be convicted or cautioned for another offence within 12 months, although young offenders are more likely to offend again than adults. Most re-offending is by a small number of prolific offenders who frequently pass through the criminal justice system – more than 60% of people released from short prison sentences will reoffend within a year. larger image | annotated R code to produce this chart

Chart: Sentences for knife carrying are increasing, but not for teens

Sentences for carrying a bladed or pointed article have become more severe for adults over the past decade, with 41% of men now going to prison on conviction. For younger offenders, the picture is different: half of girls and a third of boys caught with a knife receive no penalty – a proportion that is largely unchanged since 2008 – while fewer than one in ten receive a custodial sentence.

Chart: Much of the homicide drop has already been erased

The rapid decrease in the homicide (murder, manslaughter and infanticide) rate in England and Wales between 2000 and 2014 was unprecedented over the previous century, but a third of that decrease has already been reversed. larger image | annotated R code to produce this chart Data sources: Homicide counts 1898 to 2001/02, Homicide counts 2001/02 onwards, Population estimates 1838 to 2018. Notes This chart uses police-recorded homicide offences because that time series extends further back in time than the Home Office Homicide Index, the main alternative source of homicide data.

Chart: Police are arresting half as many people as a decade ago

A combination of legal changes and decreases in many common types of crime, together with closures of custody suites due to budget cuts, mean police are making about 760,000 fewer arrests per year now, compared to a decade ago. The number of children arrested has decreased fastest, potentially driven by recognition of the negative consequences of criminalising young people. larger image | annotated R code to produce this chart

Chart: Online crime now the most-likely threat to many businesses

Online crime (including hacking, phishing and virus attacks) is now experienced by more businesses than any other type across sectors as varied as manufacturing and communications. But in the sectors most-likely to experience a crime (retail, accomodation and entertainment), traditional offences such as theft are still more likely. The data come from the government’s Commercial Victimisation Survey, which each year asks about crime against selected business types. larger image | annotated R code to produce this chart

Chart: Most people think the justice system is fair, fewer say it's effective

Every month, the Crime Survey for England and Wales asks a representative sample of adults about their perceptions of the criminal justice system. Across age, education, ethnic and employment groups, most people believe the system as a whole is fair, but only about half say it is effective. larger image | annotated R code to produce this chart Data source: Crime Survey for England and Wales, 2019

Chart: Drug use was falling, but that seems to be changing

Self-reported drug use has fallen for most of the past 20 years according to the Crime Survey for England and Wales, but in the past seven years the use of cannabis, cocaine and ecstasy has increased substantially, particularly among people aged 16–24. However, drug use is still lower now than it was at the turn of the millenium, with about 10% of adults saying they’ve used an illegal drug in the past year.

Chart: Over 10 years, basic police pay has fallen by 22% in real terms

A combination of government-led changes to pay mean a police constable who has just completed initial training in England and Wales is paid about £6,700 less now than they would have been a decade ago, once inflation is taken into account. These figures exclude overtime and special allowances, but those are unlikely to have made up for decreasing basic pay. larger image | annotated R code to produce this chart

Chart: Homicide methods are changing

Homicide (murder, manslaughter and infanticide) in England and Wales is rare, with about 12 homicides per million people last year, a similar rate to a decade ago. But homicide methods are changing: the rise in knife murders is well known, but there are other changes, too. larger image | annotated R code to produce this chart Data source: Office for National Statistics, 2019 The homicide counts here exclude victims of the Hillsborough disaster, who died in 1989 but were recorded as manslaughter cases in 2017, and victims of the Manchester Arena bombing in 2018.