criminal justice

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: 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

Chart: What offences are people most often prosecuted for?

About 1.4 million criminal cases were prosecuted in England and Wales last year. Motoring offences and minor non-violent offences such as TV licence evasion are the most commonly prosecuted, with many more cases in those categories dealt with by fixed penalties or other out-of-court disposals. larger image | annotated R code to produce this chart Data source: Ministry of Justice, 2019

Chart: One in ten of us is on the National DNA Database

About 5.3 million people in England and Wales (about 10% of the population aged 10 or over) have their DNA stored on the National DNA Database, one of the largest DNA databases in the world. Police routinely collect DNA from arrested suspects, and it can be stored (often permanently) if they are convicted of almost any offence. larger image | annotated R code to produce this chart Data source: Home Office, 2019

Chart: More than 1,400 football arrests each season

Over the past five years, more than 1,400 people have been arrested on average each season for football-related offences across the top five English divisions, with incidents reported at over 1,000 different matches. Most arrests are for violence, and about half are for offences outside the grounds themselves. More fans are arrested at away games, even though far fewer fans typically travel than attend home games. However, the rate of arrests at football matches overall is low, at about 3 arrests per 100,000 match spectators.

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. When officers did injure people, the injuries were usually minor. However, since these are new statistics there is likely to be some under-reporting, especially of minor incidents. larger image | annotated R code to produce this chart

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. larger image | annotated R code to produce this chart Data source: Ministry of Justice, 2019