Monday, January 03, 2005

Cultures and Crimes - the Guardian strikes back

The new book on British policing, Cultures and Crimes by Norman Dennis and George Erdos, is dismantled in the Guardian.

"Leading experts on law and order have dismissed a claim that Britain has one of the highest crime rates in the developed world, caused by a decline in faith and moral values. "

Well, up to a point. We only get two comments - one from a Professor Mike Hough, director of Criminal Policy Research at King's College, London, who said: 'This is nonsense. Academics mostly agree that crime in the UK rose in the early 1990s, peaked around 1995 and has been falling ever since.'

Nothing like knocking over a straw man - Dennis' work is concerned with trends in crime from the 1950s to today. In any event, as Dennis responds, the only crimes which have fallen in the 1990s are those which the victim can do something about - burglary and car crime.

And an ACPO (Association of Chief Police Officers) spokesman called the book 'simplistic'. Nothing like a detailed rebuttal. Norman Dennis calls this approach 'contentless criticism'.

The Home Office have also chipped in, with the remarkable statement that "the risk of being a victim of crime is at its lowest since records began."

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