Britain's policing is amongst the worst in the world...

...and no amount of blaming it on "changes in reporting" is going to change this.

Britain's policing is amongst the worst in the world


Britain has one of the highest crime rates in the developed world, and one of the most ineffective police forces, according to a new study from Civitas, the independent social policy think-tank.

In Cultures and Crimes: Policing in Four Nations, Norman Dennis and George Erdos compare the policing methods of Britain, France, Germany and the USA. All four countries witnessed steep rises in crime and anti-social behaviour following the cultural revolution of the 1960s, which broke down shared norms of acceptable behaviour. However, in spite of the fact that they have very different policing traditions, the USA, France and Germany have all made a more effective job of combating rising crime than Britain. By the beginning of the 1990s, France, Germany and the United States had begun to confront their modern problems of crime and disorder, while England's influential public intellectuals continued to claim that the 'crime problem' was mainly a figment of the imagination of the old and the ignorant. The result of this 'treason of the intellectuals' was that England, from being a society remarkably free of crime and disorder, especially from the middle of the nineteenth to the middle of the twentieth century, by the late 1990s had a worse record than either France, Germany or the United States, even though each of these nations had far less favourable histories than England's of democratic law-abiding consensus.

Crime rates soar
Dennis and Erdos expose the falsity of Home Office claims, repeated like mantras, that in Britain 'crime is low', 'crime is at historically low levels' and 'crime is falling'. These assurances do not impress ordinary citizens who have seen this country change from one of the safest and most peaceable in the world to a seriously crime-afflicted and disintegrating society. This is one of those instances where ordinary people are closer to the truth than the experts.

In 1964 in England and Wales there were 72,000 domestic burglaries; in 2003/04 there were 402,000.
In 1964 there were 3,000 robberies; in 2003/04 there were 101,000.
There are now five domestic burglaries for every one domestic burglary in 1964, in spite of a great intensification of security measures being taken by private householders to protect their own homes. However, on the streets, where a person's security of person and property depends not on his own efforts, but upon the ability of the police and bystanders to keep good order, the deterioration of the situation has been by many magnitudes still worse. There were no fewer than thirty robberies of personal property in 2003/04 for every one in 1964.

In 1955 fewer than 500,000 crimes were recorded by the police in England and Wales. By the end of the 1960s there were over 1.5 million. By the end of the 1970s there were 2.7 million (p.xii).
Over the longer term, the rise in crime is so spectacular as to be difficult to comprehend.

In 1893 the annual number of recorded robberies in England and Wales fell below 400. There were then never as many as 400 recorded robberies a year in the whole of England and Wales until 1941. In stark contrast, from February to December 2001 there were never as few as 400 recorded robberies a month in the London Borough of Lambeth alone (p.xxiii).
For New Labour, statistics tend to start in 1997, when they gained power. A longer time perspective is rare, especially regarding crime. The claim that 'the risk of being a victim of crime remains historically low' relates specifically to a comparison of the British Crime Survey of 1981 with the figures for 2003 - as if the nation enjoyed a low crime rate in 1981. However, 'if "history" extends further back than 1981, then it is relevant that the police recorded 2,964,000 crimes in 1981. This was about double the number they had recorded in 1971, 1,646,000. That figure of 1,646,000 was itself about double the figure recorded in 1961, 806,000' (p.58).

Police numbers fall behind rising crime
While crime has been rising, police numbers have not kept pace. In 1921 there were 57,000 police officers dealing with 103,000 crimes - two crimes per officer. In 2002/2003 there were 134,000 police officers dealing with 5,899,000 crimes - 44 per officer (p.79).

However, inadequate police numbers do not account for the failure of the forces of law and order in Britain today, which has made crime a very low risk activity for the criminal. The attitude of the police towards crime and anti-social behaviour has changed radically from the principles which were laid down by the founders of the Metropolitan Police in the early nineteenth century. The Peelite Principles of policing (pp.80-81) put the prevention of crime as the highest priority, before the detection of the crime once it had been committed. This entailed constant, low-level interaction with local communities by officers - the origin of the 'bobby on the beat'.

The importance of broken windows
The reason for the striking success of policing in New York, and other US cities that have adopted the Broken Windows approach to crime and anti-social behaviour (p.173 ff), is that it revives this tradition. The police pay attention to low-level acts of disorder, and deal with them before they create an environment in which the anti-social elements feel in control. Even Jacques Chirac, the Mayor of Paris in 1985, where the tradition of policing is very different, called for 'beat policing… on the model of Britain' to combat rising disorder (p.149) - apparently unaware that beat policing is rapidly disappearing in Britain. The hostility of the law enforcement establishment to the old beat policing model is a significant factor in the police force's inability to get to grips with rising crime:

'When and to the extent that all the elements of the New York model are adopted by the police forces of England and Wales, to that extent the problems of crime and disorder in England and Wales will move towards a solution' (p.202).

Cultural drivers of crime
However, whatever tactics are adopted, a society in which crime is rising as rapidly as it is in Britain at the present time will always be an unpleasant and dangerous place to live. Dennis and Erdos argue that, however much we might try to improve policing, the real problem is the loss of internalised moral principles that prevent people from committing crimes in the first place. The rise in lawlessness reflects a decline in shared values, and Dennis and Erdos attribute this to the cultural revolution of the 1960s, which subverted many institutions through which moral capital was generated - in particular, the family based on marriage. Young people who grow up in troubled and dysfunctional households in which moral values are not inculcated, who attend schools where teachers are afraid or unwilling to teach the difference between right or wrong, who live in communities in which the influence of religious faith is negligible, will naturally be drawn towards the self-gratification and situational ethics that predominate in contemporary culture. This is the aspect of the crime problem that has become unmentionable, but Dennis and Erdos argue that the problem itself cannot be understood except within this context:

'Crime and disorder lie in the loss column of the profit-and-loss account of the material and cultural changes experienced by the rich and free societies of the West. Crime and disorder are not accidental and disposable aspects of post-1960s society. They are part of the price that has been paid for its advantages' (p.201).

Policing becomes difficult when shared norms of behaviour are lost, and there is even disagreement about what constitutes good and bad behaviour:

'A society on a large scale or a small scale ceases to exist when its members lose the capacity to agree on what facts are true and what conduct is good'.

'Cultures and Crimes: Policing in Four Nations' by Norman Dennis and George Erdos is published by Civitas, 77 Great Peter St, London SW1P 2EZ tel 020 7799 6677,, price £15.50 including P&P.

For more information e-mail CIVITAS on:
I hope that any fallout is directed at the Home Office and Ministers responsible, as opposed to the ordinary bobby on the beat who routinely performs miracles and then spends 10 hours writing form after form about them (in triplicate).

In spite of such a pessimistic report, I still believe we are very lucky to live in a society where our police are not routinely armed (unlike the US, France and Germany).


44 crimes each? I must speak to the Guvoner!

One arrest will keep me in the office for the remaining part of my shift, and if I get one in the bin, coming on, I wont even be able to deal with anything that day! Paperwork- baine of my life!

Now were is that file 13?
sorry your post makes as much sense as my last :lol: .ied Just annoyed
the police seem to be tied up with paperwork and obsessed with political
correctness ,and the blokes on the ground get messed around
I think the problem is the isolation of the police. They have to deal with so much piffle that they are seen as extremely authoritian and there is not the bond sort of thing between 'them' and 'us'. I did once assist a copper who was getting a kicking outside Victoria Station whilst commuters looked on. I am sorry to say that if event were repeated today I'd most likely pass on the other side. Cannot itemise exactly what caused this change in me but I certainly find police more stand offish than they used to be. I don't mean that I want to see them getting down on the carnival and swopping hats etc. but the friendly old copper was to be preferred. Long time since I was at Peel House but the seriousness of the training may have something to do with it. My training was a laugh from start to finish.
I worked this out, useing 2002 figures.

In England you're 14 times more likely to be mugged/burgled or robbed than in America!

True, in America you're 52 times more likely to be raped or killed.

My personal preferance's would be the following Idea's:

More police admin assistants. People to do the paper work for the police. So the police guy can write up an incident report and leave it for the admin assistant. I know that not all the paper work can be done by sumone who wasn't there at the time, but alot of it can.

This is an important one: Heavier punishments for people who brake the law and are in a postion of authority, so copper's, admin assistants and judges (to name a few) would face more severe charges if they where to comit a crime.

I'd also like to see corpral punishment returned, drink driiving? 5 strokes, etc. that free's up prision space for the people who require it. And if some one is about to comit a crime, well hopefuly they will be thinking if I get caught, this will hurt, lots. If you wonder where I'm coming from read Heinlin's starship trooper's (and I do mean read the book).
In spite of such a pessimistic report, I still believe we are very lucky to live in a society where our police are not routinely armed (unlike the US, France and Germany).
But you can get mugged more often here than there. :roll:
Well said scalieback.

The UK has been involved in a war or conflict in every single year since WWII apart from I think 1968. Does that mean the Army is crap?
Nice one BBR! :D

I love the way that ARRSE attracts all the naysayers and doom prophets from their sad little holes all across the world. BBR - you have brought a smile to my face on this thoroughly miserable first day back at work! :D
Listy wrote

I'd also like to see corpral punishment returned, drink driiving? 5 strokes, etc. that free's up prision space for the people who require it. And if some one is about to comit a crime, well hopefuly they will be thinking if I get caught, this will hurt, lots. If you wonder where I'm coming from read Heinlin's starship trooper's (and I do mean read the book).
Spot on, the Isle of Man had the birch until about 20 years ago (?) and they had very few problems. ASBO? Fcuk off. They'll think twice before being naughty the second time, after their backs were ripped to shreds the first time!

Subject of Star Ship Troopers, I recall you had to serve in the Forces if you wanted citizenship. What a good idea, maybe not forces, but people should serve the society before getting the all priveledges, like free NHS and, of coures, Legal Aid.

Coppers today still as good as before, just bogged down in paperwork and being PC (as in politically correct) they are also, I feel, let down by the CPS and the judges. The cops repeatedly bust their own asses to get some toerag before the beak only to see him walk out on some technicality or with a low sentance.

While inside they should be forced to work, 23 hours in a cell per day? It should be gleaming then. Also bill them food and accomodation while they're in, including block damages and seize assets to pay back victims so the tax payer doesn't foot the bill.

Think of the deterrent factor of both the birch and hard routine in nick, pretty hard to large it up in the pub when your shirt is stuck to your back!!! :twisted:
Ah, doom and gloom, something we are all so comfortable with!

Just wanted to add that I really feel that the police are simply concentrating on issues they can win - such as speeding and drink driving, leaving the really difficult stuff - prevention of crime - to gather dust.

I am not suggesting that we need to get too medieval on people's "backsides" for their anti-social behaviour, but there is the need to re-link the commission of a crime with the punishment. The flash to bang between offence and punishment is too long, these scroats need to be dealt with almost on the spot where possible. If that means that courts have to run 24 hours a day, then so be it!

I feel sorry for the police, but agree with the ORC, it would be hard to give the peelers a hand when they are getting a kicking, knowing just how much their backs are up against the wall - probably find yourself banged up for leathering the brown matter out of the little scamp, or god forbid it, infringing his civil right to be a prick.

Trouble is, until we vote for someone who has balls, we are going to get the usual "campbell babble" from the Great Dictator and Politburo. Time for a return to zero tolerance, not just of criminals, but politicians too.

Enjoy fun day at work, not back until the 10th! Tee hee
woody said:
BRING in zero tolerance bin the pc rubbish lock up criminals or if they
use guns or suspected too use shoot to kill
The Ch Cons here in Scotland have proposed that police take no action at all in a wide range of incidents. What price zero tolerance in face of that?
chocolate_frog said:
Subject of Star Ship Troopers, I recall you had to serve in the Forces if you wanted citizenship. What a good idea, maybe not forces, but people should serve the society before getting the all priviledges, like free NHS and, of course, Legal Aid.
Good drills all round.

Service = Citizenship

PS Service of all kinds: HMF, Police, NHS...even the FBU! (Pause for the inevitable slagging!) :D

PPS And being an MP doesn't count. In their case, I believe all their property should be handed over to the state. In this way, if they failed to maintain a buoyant economy, they get hit where it hurts - in their pockets. I wonder how many grossfully wasteful procurement projects or Millennium Domes would be built if the MPs had an actual monetary stake in their own governance? :twisted:
Spanner wrote
Trouble is, until we vote for someone who has balls,
Yet to have someone with balls put themselves forward for election! Ray Mallon did it on a local level and was elected. I seem to remember him saying in an interview that he was at heart, a Labour man. So being Ray Mallon and Labour, would he be tough on crime but still allow Gordon Brown to pick your pocket?
I agree in many respects to the cmments that have been made and IMO the country has lost control at the home level too. I think back at an instance on a 15 year old American kid who decided to run across the top of about 14 cars in Tailand and got cought. He was give 15 lases of the birch for his trouble even though the US tried to step in and get the punishment reduced. His parents were non too happy either. But had he had some disapline at home he probably wouldn't have even thought about doing what he did. I also think he probably will think twice the next time he dicides to cause a couple of hundred thousand dollars damage to property. Disapline should start at home. I remember my daught being cought by her mother with a pound that she had stollen off a counter in a shop age 9!! She admitted it after a grilling and was marched in to the shop by her mother to hand back the money and was in floods of tears "Were we infringing on her human rights" I don't give a dame. She didn't do it again and learned her lesson. She was getting a little out of hand at age 11, no problem confined to the spare room with no TV or computer or video after school every night for a week, no going out. No friends over to the house only homework. Worked a treat. Age 12 she decided that having a wash in the morning was not fun. solution banned from the bathroom no baths no change of clothing, the amount of stick she got for not smelling of perfume at school from her friends had her pleeding to be able to wash. Again worked a treat. I now have a well adjusted, disaplained, well spoken daughter of 16 who respects her elders and I believe respects the law!!!
P.S. Love the idear of making prisoners pay there way, and working hard routine. That would lower the burden on the tax payer and I'm sure it would give an insetive to not go back to jail!!!!!!!! :twisted:
My son and daughter in law are police officers in the UK. Both have decent degrees, my son also served in the army experienced active service several times. They and their colleagues are decent, caring, enthusiastic people who have the safety of their community at heart.

Unfortunately due to under manning/funding, a lenient judicial system and a greater emphasis on administrative work over good old fashioned community policing (the Bobby on the beat) pro-active policing is becoming impossible and has given way to a re-active response to the crime epidemic.

This purely re-active response breeds, perhaps, the authoritarian mindset that Old Red Cap referred to in one of his posts and generates a certain amount of antipathy between police and public which in turn generates cynicism and a lowering of morale.

The men and women in the ranks of our police forces are the same today as they ever were though they are not being given the support or the tools necessary to combat crime, gain the confidence of and maintain a safe environment for, the general public. Until they are (given those tools and support) we will continue to witness an increasing alienation of police and public and increasing lawlessness particularly in socially deprived areas.
Of course it's going to get so much better in London when John Steven is replaced by someone described as "the most politically-correct policeman in Britain".

Have a read of Richard Littlejohn's "To hell in a handcart". The story revolves around a ultra-PC Dep Chief Cons of the Met.

As he says.... you couldn't make it up.

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