criminal justice

Chart: When police use force, they rarely cause injury

Police reported using force on over 300,000 occasions last year, or about 850 each day, with most incidents involving either handcuffing or other restraint. Almost all force used by police resulted in no injury to the person force was used against.

Chart: Most prison sentences are for violent crimes

About 69,000 adults (more than 95% of them men) are currently serving prison sentences, most of them for violent or sexual offences. However, over 10,000 adults are serving sentences for drug offences, more than for all types of theft combined.

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.

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: 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.

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.

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.

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.

Chart: For most offences prison is the exception, not the rule

Of the 663,000 non-motoring offences for which people were sentenced in 2018, only about 11% resulted in a prison sentence. Some convictions, like rape and robbery, almost always result in a prison sentence (at least for adult offenders), while other offences very rarely result in imprisonment.

Chart: Police cuts haven't hit everywhere equally

There are almost 22,000 fewer police officers in England and Wales than in 2010, but numbers haven’t dropped equally across police forces. One force (Surrey) has the same number of officers now as 10 years ago, while officer numbers in forces like Humberside are increasing after steep cuts.