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.
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.
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.
Among the 42 million adults in England and Wales aged between 16 and 74, 1.3 million have been sexually assaulted by a current or former partner, 4.3 million subjected to non-sexual assault and 2.