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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.