Crime and justice chart of the week

Chart: In serious cases, justice is often slow

Some serious crime investigations are surprisingly quick: half of murder prosecutions involve a suspect being charged in five days or fewer. But for many serious crimes, justice is often slow: half of fraud prosecutions don’t conclude until almost two years after the crime occurred. larger image | annotated R code to produce this chart Data source: Ministry of Justice, 2019

Chart: Some police forces are much more likely to prosecute violence

Once police have enough evidence to prosecute an offender, they or prosecutors must decide whether to send the case to court or deal with it informally. For violent crimes, the likelihood of a case going to court varies substantially across police forces, with some prosecuting over 80% of cases and others diverting two thirds to other resolutions such as paying compensation. larger image | annotated R code to produce this chart

Chart: No big changes in sentences after new police-assaults law

The government recently doubled the maximum sentence for assaulting a police officer to 12 months in prison, introducing a new offence of assaulting an emergency worker. So far, this change is associated with only small increases in sentences handed down in court. larger image | annotated R code to produce this chart Data source: Ministry of Justice, 2020 Notes To test whether there were any differences between imprisonment probability or sentence length before and after the new law was introduced, I ran separate ARIMA regression models (using the auto.

Chart: England & Wales has highest per-capita prison population in Western Europe

While Turkey has Europe’s highest imprisonment rate, England and Wales locks up more people per 100,000 population than any other western European country. larger image | annotated R code to produce this chart Data source: Eurostat, 2019 database tables crim_pris_cap.

Chart: 73% of victim-based crime is not reported to police

Of the 10.9 million crimes which individual adults aged 16 years and over experienced in the past year, only 27% were reported to the authorities. Reporting rates vary substantially, with more-serious crimes more likely to be reported. Fraud makes up almost half of victim-based crime but is particularly unlikely to be reported, dragging down the overall average. larger image | annotated R code to produce this chart Data source: Crime Survey for England and Wales, 2019

Chart: Stop and search has fallen, arrests from searches less so

Police can search people they suspect of having prohibited items such as drugs or weapons. Since 2011, searches have decreased by 70%. Only 12% of searches lead to arrest, but this is increasing – total arrests from searches have decreased only 38% since 2011, suggesting police are getting better at targeting offenders. larger image | annotated R code to produce this chart Data source: Home Office, 2019

Chart: Stop and search has fallen, arrests from searches less so

Police can search people they suspect of having prohibited items such as drugs or weapons. Since 2011, searches have decreased by 70%. Only 12% of searches lead to arrest, but this is increasing – total arrests from searches have decreased only 38% since 2011, suggesting police are getting better at targeting offenders. larger image | annotated R code to produce this chart Data source: Home Office, 2019

Chart: Homicides haven't only increased in Britain

The homicide-rate increase over the past five years hasn’t been unique to England and Wales, with murders also increasing in France, Germany and Sweden after continent-wide decreases since the 1990s. The UK-wide homicide rate remains about average for European countries. larger image | annotated R code to produce this chart Data source: Eurostat, 2019 database tables crim_off_cat and crim_gen with population data from table demo_pjan.

Chart: Police crackdowns catch few drink drivers

Police routinely breathalyse drivers they suspect have been drinking, but also carry out an annual Christmas crackdown, breath-testing more than three times as many drivers in December as in other months. However, only about 1.6% of these extra tests catch a drink driver, compared to about 14% of routine tests. larger image | annotated R code to produce this chart Data source: Home Office, 2019 Notes ‘Extra’ tests associated with the annual Chirstmas crackdown on drink driving were calculated as the mean number of tests conducted in December each year minus the mean number of tests conducted in other months.

Chart: 10 times more people die in police collisions than in shootings

About 100 people a year die following contact with police in England and Wales. Public debate has often focused on deaths in custody or police shootings, but people are much more likely to die in collisions with police vehicles or in suicides following release from custody. larger image | annotated R code to produce this chart Data source: Independent Office for Police Conduct, 2019