Thursday, 11 August 2011

Lawless Britain and the Crime Industry

 

Update (2 April 2012) from the official Report "5 Days in August"


Following the riots that occurred in towns and cities across England between 6 and 10 August 2011, the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and Leader of the Official Opposition established the Riots Communities and Victims Panel and asked it to consider:
  • what may have motivated this small minority of people to take part in the riots;
  • why the riots happened in some areas and not others;
  • how key public services engaged with communities before, during and after the riots;
  • what motivated local people to come together to resist riots in their area or to clean up after riots had taken place;
  • how communities can be made more socially and economically resilient in the future, in order to prevent future problems; and
  • what could have been done differently to prevent or manage the riots.

What this blog said at the time:

As the police announce that arrests and convictions in the recent riots and looting have exceeded 1,000 we pause to remind ourselves that lawlessness is not a freak event in British culture. 

Perhaps we should be surprised that so few took to the streets in the recent festival of transgression. The millions of British people who already have a criminal conviction do not need a politics or a rationale to explain their actions.  It's the lack of a coherent or declared politics in the recent events that is most disturbing and a sufficient cause for future anxiety.

Let's remember that the BBC reported in 1999 that one third of British men will will have a criminal record before reaching the age of 40. Sadly, crime appears to be an inevitable rite of passage for a significant minority of young men.

What's striking here is age and gender. But it would also be a mistake to exclude colour, education and deprivation as key factors and determinants as well. These factors are well-documented in all crime and social statistics from government sources.

The riots are really the thin end of the wedge once we consider the potential for criminality in the population at large. As society begins to ponder the underlying issues we ought to reflect what kind of social forces have led to this sad state of affairs. A debate that confines itself to the recent actions of disaffected youth will not I suspect, adequately address the situation.

Crime is now one of the biggest industries in the UK. It's one sector that also grows during the recession. The direct and social cost has been estimated at £40 billion. The emotional and personal costs to victims are more difficult to evaluate. Examples of creative thinking on this topic would be very welcome.

More statistics from Crime Stoppers

 And more from  The Poverty Site :
  • The number of 18- to 20-year-olds found guilty of an indictable offence fell between 1999 and 2004 but has remained broadly unchanged since then.
  • 45,000 people aged 18 to 20 were found guilty of an indictable offence in 2009.  This represents around 2% of the age group.
  • 90% of those found guilty are men.
  • Black young adults are four times as likely as White young adults to be in prison and six times as likely as Asian young adults.
  • At 7%, the proportion of young adults using class A drugs is somewhat lower than a decade ago.
Update (2 April 2012) from the official Report "5 Days in August"

Following the riots that occurred in towns and cities across England between 6 and 10 August 2011, the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and Leader of the Official Opposition established the Riots Communities and Victims Panel and asked it to consider:
  • what may have motivated this small minority of people to take part in the riots;
  • why the riots happened in some areas and not others;
  • how key public services engaged with communities before, during and after the riots;
  • what motivated local people to come together to resist riots in their area or to clean up after riots had taken place;
  • how communities can be made more socially and economically resilient in the future, in order to prevent future problems; and
  • what could have been done differently to prevent or manage the riots.

3 comments:

  1. Ian, correct my understanding of history but Thatcher (or at least her advisors) understood sociology in the sense that she beefed up support and compensation for the police in order to implement her agenda. But with austerity rising concomittantly with crime, isn't anti social behaviour going to be an unstoppable force in Cameron's "Big Society"

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yes, my point is that social dissent and discontent is widespread and increasing. It does not help matters that we have a massively divided and unequal society. In this climate, the "respect" and "entitlement" agenda is a liberal dream, not a reality. We are on the brink of the breakdown and collapse of civil society. Foreign wars and more authoritarian strategies appear to be the politicians' only answer.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Revealing for the first time that almost 75% of those aged over 18 charged with offences committed during the riots had prior convictions, Clarke said the civil unrest had laid bare an urgent need for penal reform to stop reoffending among "a feral underclass, cut off from the mainstream in everything but its materialism". (The Guardian)

    ReplyDelete

My blog posts are exploratory rather than finished works. You are invited to add any comments below...