Key findings of the independent think tank Reform in The lawful society report:
- There has been a shift in responsibility in the criminal justice system, away from the individual and towards centralised institutions, demonstrated by 76% of Britons believing that the police and courts are responsible for controlling anti-social behaviour, compared to around 45% in France and Germany.
- Six out of ten people in Britain would be unlikely to challenge a group of 14 year old boys vandalising a bus shelter in the UK, more than Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, France Spain and the UK. In Germany, six out of ten would challenge the group.
- British people are more worried about crime and violence with 43 percent reporting it as one of their greatest concerns compared to 21 percent in Germany and 27 percent in the US.
- The UK spends the largest amount in the OECD on law and order as a percentage of GDP, with nearly 40% more in real terms spent in 2006/07 than in 1997/98. This is higher than the US, double that of Sweden, France and Denmark and around 50% greater than that of Canada, Germany and Japan.
- Administration costs across the criminal justice service have risen by around 10% since 2002/03 – faster than frontline expenditure, which has risen by 7% since 2002/03.
- International comparison shows that criminal justice is most effective where it is close to the public and has strong local accountability.
The Telegraph reveals that councils are recruiting, and paying, informers to snoop on their neighbours:
The youngsters are among almost 5,000 residents who in some cases are being offered £500 rewards if they provide evidence of minor infractions.
One in six councils contacted by the Telegraph said they had signed up teams of "environment volunteers" who are being encouraged to photograph or video neighbours guilty of dog fouling, littering or "bin crimes".
The "covert human intelligence sources", as some local authorities describe them, are also being asked to pass on the names of neighbours they believe to be responsible, or take down their number-plates.
(Henri Porter's latest column, Our obsession with crime is crushing our freedoms, comments on these news tidbits.)