Friday, 21 June 2013

Crime and Non Punishment

Police Detection Rates are always a concern in the UK where they have I believe since 2005/ 2006 the police have displayed police statistics using a new set of definitions when they stopped using the old term of 
'cleared up', and started describing crime performance in terms of 'detections' and 'sanction detections' being classified separately. I have to therefore give the explanations of these newish terms:

Detections: A term used for resolved cases whether it be though police-generated detections (sanction detections), or those resolved through administrative means (non-sanction detections).

The official definition for sanction detection is as follows:

A 'sanctioned detection' occurs when

(1) a notifiable offence (crime) has been committed and recorded;
(2) a suspect has been identified and is aware of the detection;
(3) the CPS evidential test is satisfied;
(4) the victim has been informed that the offence has been detected, and;
(5) the suspect has been charged, reported for summons, or cautioned, been issued with a penalty notice for disorder, or the offence has been taken into consideration when an offender is sentenced.

The last full set of published figures I could find were these

Crime Detection Rates of UK 2010 -2012

As you can see, the rates are very low for some crimes, and show a small trend of year on year decline (which seems to have been happening for decades) ... In fact this rate has generally shown a downward trend in detection rates since 1980. It's been pointed out that “in simple terms, the number of detections achieved has failed to keep pace with the rise in recorded crime…or when crime numbers have fallen, the number of detections has fallen more”.

International Comparisons show that indeed the UK, with a population of about 60 million people, has a murder detection rate of close to 75 per cent. In the US, with a population of 312 million, there was a detection rate of close to 72 per cent. I found this set of figures for 1997 which show that this problem of low detection rates afflicts most of the Western world.

1997 Police Detection Rates

 However there could be a quick way of boosting detection rates .... better police photos!!

I'll give you an example, a male employee was killed in an attack at a south London betting shop when
his attacker walked in and forced his way behind the counter. The man was found dead with a serious head injury .... it wasn't reported if there was even any money stolen in the attack. The betting office was next to a neighbourhood police office (which wasn't manned at the time of the incident - are they ever?) but this didn't deter the violent murder.

Police issued a photo of the man they wanted to speak to in connection with the event, but its poor and faded. I spent just a few moments and improved it considerably .... as you can see the picture on the left is the police version, while mine is on the right .... surely the second version is more likely to get a suspect found?

I think a lot of police photos show this same lack of understanding about how photos can be quickly enhanced to increase the chance of detection rates.

Police are looking for this man in connection to a betting office murder

Its about time the police used a little bit of the technology freely available, and gave themselves a better chance of catching the ne'er-do-wells of our times ....

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