Sharp rise in rape cases overshadows fall in crime rate
Alan Travis, home affairs editor
Thursday July 17, 2003
The Guardian An unexplained 27% rise in female rape cases last year cast a shadow today over the publication of Home Office figures that reveal the crime rate in England and Wales held broadly stable in 2002-3.
The annual publication of the police recorded crime figures, together with the more authoritative British Crime Survey, suggest that the fall in crime recorded since 1995 has slowed down and may be coming to an end.
The BCS, which is based on interviews with 40,000 people about their experience of crime, suggests that the overall crime rate fell by 2%, while police-recorded crime dropped by 3% once adjustments are made for changes in recording practices.
A freaking poll is more authoriative? (stupid stupid stupid)
But the slight fall in overall crime was masked by the unexplained rise in female rape from 8,990 cases to 11,441. The rise may be due to increased reporting by victims.
There was also a separate 8% rise in "stranger violence" - assaults and woundings by people unknown to the victims.
Professor Paul Wiles, the Home Office research director, said that there has been a long-running campaign to encourage rape victims to come forward and report it to the police: "I can't say that 'x' per cent of that is part of this. We don't know."
Ruth Hall of Women Against Rape said it was impossible to know what had caused last year's steep increase. "But we would not say it was down to increased confidence in the police.
"It is much more likely to reflect that more and more women are determined to go ahead [in reporting rape], despite what they know about the police and the crown prosecution service refusing to bring the case."
This is so true.Police figures on violent crime - adjusted for changes in recording practices - show a 2% rise in the last financial year with rises in child abduction and child cruelty cases, indecent assaults and gun possession.
Drug crime, particulary possession of drugs, rose by 16%, although robbery was down by 11%.
The home secretary, David Blunkett, said he was encouraged by the figures showing overall crime continuing to fall and that car crime and burglary were now at historically low levels.
Maybe that is traffic crimes like speeding that are lower
But the shadow home secretary, Oliver Letwin, said the rise in violent crime was extremely worrying and showed that the government was making no headway in tackling disorder.
"Sadly the figures will come as no surprise to the millions of people up and down the country who suffer daily from crime, or the fear of crime, much of it drug related," Mr Letwin said.
The Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman, Simon Hughes, said: "Muddying the waters about the way these figures are recorded will not reassure the public. The fact is there is still a huge amount to be done to tackle serious violent and sexual offences.
"A history of under-report ing means that the public has been kept in the dark about the true level of crime."
He added: "It cannot be acceptable that 11,441 women were raped last year. It cannot be acceptable that there were 1,048 homicides. It cannot be acceptable that there were 141,116 drugs offences last year."
Obsession of America helps to keep the focus off of their own dire situation. They ignore their own shortcommings out of fools pride and decades of liberal indoctrination. "Crime is a disorder to be solved with understanding. It is not an evil to be fought against." After all we are all equal human beings who need loving and understanding. "In the UK robbers and rapists are people too."
Should UK Police Carry Firearms?
There are many schools of thought about whether or not the UK Police should carry firearms.
I have 29 years in "The Job" and one of my first acts was to attend the Funeral of Superintendent Gerry Richardson of the Lancashire Constabulary who was murdered (shot) whilst trying to arrest a male responsible for an armed Robbery on a Jewellers in Blackpool, Lancashire. (July 1971)
Since 1971 a number UK officers have been murdered whilst on duty but not all those killed have been as a result of firearms. Where there has been a death as result of a firearm, I hazard to guess how many times the possession of a firearm by the deceased Officer would have saved his/her life. If we are to consider that factor we should look at the "mindset" of the UK Officer.
In the UK firearms are not as prevalent as they are in the USA. Even more so since the UK Government ban on the personal possession of firearms following the Dunblane Incident. So the vast majority of the UK society would perceive a threat of physical violence is more likely to be from someone with a knife or blunt instrument than someone with a firearm. By association UK Officers may have a similar perception.
There was always a reluctance by UK Criminals to use firearms as the British Courts were not frightened to impose the Death Penalty were someone had died. Unfortunately the Death Penalty was outlawed in the late 1950's early 1960's. Though the criminal community still preferred brute force as opposed to firearms. With the exception of London and to a lesser extent the other big UK Cities armed criminals were not a particular threat to Society in the 60's, 70's, 80's. However the 1990's has seen an explosive rise in criminal use of firearms, the UK Police has looked towards meeting the threat by firstly creating Armed Response Vehicles (ARV) and then increasing the frequency and number of patrols by ARV's.
Like all Police Officers, across the Western World there is there ever present threat of "Trial by Media". We have all seen the Newspaper photograph that have been skilfully "cropped", so that the Offender(s) right hand that carries the machete is out of picture whilst the "baton" wielding Officer is there in all his Glory.
Many UK Officers of the 1970's, 80's and to a lesser extent the 90's often felt that if they were given firearms they would be more frightened to use them for the trouble that we would bring down upon our own heads. This was the era of the Civil Liberties Group, whose sole intention was to discredit the Police or so it appeared; by showing them in a bad light by analysing every incident where an Officer had used force. During those decades our only form of protection was a 18" piece of wood that was concealed in a special trouser pocket. If we drew a baton in public, we were duty bound to complete a written report to justify our actions. In fact we had a fight on our hands around 1995 to get UK Government to allow UK Police to use PR24. Then a even bigger fight for them to allow the use of incapitants (sprays) and even then they went for CS and opposed to OC spray.
It was Sir Robert Peel back in 1829 who forged the image of the unarmed British Police Officer. His aim was to gain popular acceptance of a group, then universally unacceptable to British Society. Within a Decade the "Peelers" had gained acceptance and become "Bobbies". Though they did often carry firearms particularly on Night Duty in the Metropolis ( London). My own father in 1938 as a young Constable in the Liverpool City Police carried a firearm on nights whilst patrolling the Liverpool docks because of IRA activity.
Policing alters ever so slightly but all the time and Policing in the 21st Century is different than it was in 1972. The UK Police Officer in the year 2000 may have a totally different opinion than Officers of my generation on the rights and wrongs of permanently being armed. I just hope that SOMEONE in authority listens to what they have to say.
Oisin Moonchild, Inspector of Police
>Gunman Shoots At Police In London
>Scotland Yard said that a gunman opened fire on police officers on Thursday as they pursued him in a high-speed car chase. No one was injured in the incident