Police surveys and victim surveys all purport that crime against the person and against property has fallen, even though the same newspaper reported only 7 days ago that half of crimes are not being investigated because police focus on cases that are a priority to them and not their victims. It was also reported in May of this year that Police have been ordered to ‘slant crime’, as officers are encouraged to massage crime figures. It has been suggested that officers are afraid to speak out in fear of losing their jobs.
If we look at the trends in reported crime and recorded crime it is evident that there is a huge discrepancy. These reports suggests that crime rates are falling because people are not recording them with the police, perhaps due to a lack of confidence following a number of high profile police failures - such as the Hillsborough cover up and failed Stephen Lawrence investigation - and that police are not recording the crimes and thus not investigating them.
It is being suggested that crime rates are falling because we are returning to a natural equilibrium following the WWII baby boom, which resulted in a swelling of the 16 - 24 age bracket, of whom commit the majority of crimes. We are now entering a time where those people are aging and, supposedly, there are fewer 16 - 24 year olds in Britain. Whilst the population maybe living longer, women are choosing to have children at a later age too, and, whilst there maybe some truth in this statement, there are still more than 6.6 million 16 - 24 year olds in Britain. Deputy assistant commissioner for London's Met Police, Mark Simmons, pointed out that the city is home to an increasing number of 18 to 24-year-old men - yet offences continue to fall.
Others have argued that the expanding prison population is evidence of fewer criminals on the streets - hence lower crime rates. However, this does not stack up either, since, whilst prison populations have increased by more than 40,000 over the last 13 years, the UK’s population has grown by 5 million. This would only suggest that prison populations grow with the national population. It is also interesting to note that other countries, which have reduced the number of prisoners behind bars, have still seen a fall in crime.
There was even the suggestion that social changes have meant that young people in many wealthy countries are likely to continue to live with their parents and remain in higher education - all of which results in a generally better behaved generation, although there is not evidence put forward that would support this statement.
What is surely meant by ‘social changes’ is austerity. Austerity is what is causing younger generations to stay at home longer, and, when we compare ourselves to other wealthy nations that have falling crime rates it is clear to see that all such countries are being squeezed by austerity which results in an under funded police service.
Of course all reports have missed the inconvenient truth that many high ranking crimes such as Banking Fraud and Treason, as well as fraud and malfeasance in Government, are being ignored by the Police, despite numerous complaints being made throughout the country, adding to the lack of confidence in police and thus a lack of a reporting of crimes.