Last update09:22:08 AM GMT


Accurate statistics needed to fight fraud, says panel

The Independent Fraud Advisory Panel has called for a review of official statistics to improve efforts to fight fraud. The watchdog wants the government to review the method used to collect official fraud statistics and warns that the new pension reforms could provide another avenue for unscrupulous fraudsters to target the elderly.

Speaking in July, its chairman David Kirk said: "Incomplete statistics leave fraud victims disadvantaged and hide the true level of economic crime in this country. Without a sound understanding of the amount of fraud and who it is hurting, adequate police resources cannot be applied to tackling the problem.

"The system for collecting fraud statistics remains fundamentally flawed, and unless the true value is revealed the Home Office is unlikely to step up its efforts in this area.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 07 October 2015 15:25


Rioting sentences 'excessive and arbitrary', study claims

A review of sentencing following the 2011 riots in England has shown that sentences were much harsher than realised at first. The study was carried out by The University of Manchester and Liverpool John Moores University.

Dr Hannah Quirk, a senior lecturer in Criminal Law and Justice at The University of Manchester, was the co-author of the research, which was published in The British Journal of Criminology in October. She said: 'Whilst the offending may have been impulsive, sentencing should not be.'

The summer riots of 2011 were commonly described as the worst in living memory due to the speed with which they spread over such a wide geographical area. The disorder began after Mark Duggan was shot dead by the police in Tottenham, north London.

Last Updated on Sunday, 29 April 2018 09:20


Crime survey shows another fall, while reported crime remains steady

Latest figures from the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW), published by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) in July, show that there were an estimated 7.3 million incidents of crime against households and resident adults (those aged 16 and over) in England and Wales for the year ending March.

This represents a 14% decrease compared with the previous year's survey and is the lowest estimate since the survey began in 1981.

The CSEW covers a broad range of victim-based crimes and includes crimes which do not come to the attention of the police. Decreases were evident for most major crime types compared with the previous year - violence saw a 20% fall, criminal damage fell by 17% and theft offences decreased by 10%.

In contrast, according to the ONS, police recorded crime shows no overall change from the previous year, with 3.7 million offences recorded in the year ending in March. Prior to that, police recorded crime figures have shown year-on-year reductions since 2002/03.


Last Updated on Sunday, 29 April 2018 09:20


Criminal courts head for a digital revolution

Picture of a gavel and a keyboard for Your Expert Witness storyThe Government is moving ahead with provisions for all criminal courts in England and Wales to be able to operate completely digitally in two years time.

The plan is that criminal cases will be handled digitally “from the moment a crime is committed through to the conclusion in court”.

The process forms the backbone of the Criminal Justice System Digital Business Model, which was launched by the then-Criminal Justice Minister Damian Green in April.

He announced the new model at Bromley Magistrates’ Court in South London, which became the first the first in London, and one of the first in the UK, to be equipped with new digital presentation facilities.

Last Updated on Sunday, 29 April 2018 09:20


Criminal advocacy report prompts swift responses and measured reflection

Picture of Bill Jeffrey for Your Expert Witness storyThe market in criminal advocacy is not working competitively or in such a way as to optimise quality, according to an independent report published on 7 May. The report, Independent Criminal Advocacy in England and Wales, is the product of a review commissioned by Justice Secretary Chris Grayling and undertaken by former civil servant Sir Bill Jeffrey.

With crime falling and criminal proceedings simpler, says the report, there is less work for criminal advocates to do, with more advocates than even a few years ago. Yet the report found disquiet among judges about the capabilities of some of the advocates appearing before them.

Its specific recommendations include improved advocacy training for solicitors, encouragement of the Criminal Bar to be willing to adjust its way of doing business, to enable it to compete for legal aid contracts, and the timely assignment of advocates.

It also draws attention to the longer term implications if current trend towards the use of solicitor advocates and away from the Criminal Bar continues. Sir Bill is clear that it would be neither feasible nor desirable to wind the clock back on rights of audience. Solicitor advocates are a valuable and established part of the scene; but if the Bar’s share of the work continues to decline, as the current generation moves to retirement, the supply of top-end advocates to undertake the most complex trials would be in doubt.

Last Updated on Sunday, 29 April 2018 09:20