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Crime - UK Justice System - Criminology Diploma 1

Updated on May 2, 2015

Criminology Diploma Assignment 1


***Before you continue to read this Hub may I mention that this is my work, written in my words for my Criminology Diploma. By all means read the Hub and absorb it's content but please don't plagiarize my work and present it as your own work towards your own diploma. This has been added as a request from a tutor/examiner of the Criminology Diploma program.***

Thank you!

1.1 Define Criminology.

The general definition of Criminology is The Scientific Study of Crime dealing with the nature, extent and causes of such.

Solely for the purpose of this course Criminology will be defined as the study of various ways of systematically thinking about the description, prediction, explanation and control of crime.

1.2 Explain the macro and micro theories used by criminologists.

Macro and Micro generally define Great and Small but in this case they could mean overall and individual.

Macro theories more often consider society as a whole, maybe generalising around certain areas or groups. An example of a macro theory could be to offer probabilities as to why a certain city has a crime rate much lower that its neighbouring city.

Micro theories are more detailed and more positive. These offer reasoning as to why some individuals engage in certain crimes and why others don’t.

1.3 Analyse the trends of modern day criminal statistics, based on British Crime Statistic Survey.

The British Crime Statistic Survey began in 1981, at that time overall crime was recorded at around 11 million incidents. Since this onset, the recorded incidents in overall crime rose steadily until reaching its peak in 1995, reaching almost 20 million. Since the 1995 peak, the results steadily fell until 2004 where it has remained almost stable, again at around 11 million incidents, a 45% reduction, with the exception of a slight rise in 2006/7.

Trends in violence, vehicle related theft and burglary, percentage wise, have practically followed in the same trend as overall BCS crime. Again, since the 1995 peak, violence is down 49%, vehicle related theft is down 65% and burglary is down 58%. Other crimes such as vandalism and bicycle theft have also fell since 1995, 18% and 20% respectively. One crime that has risen in this same period is theft from the person with a 7% increase?

In 1995, the risk of being a victim of BCS crime was at 40%, again this figure has fallen and the current risk is now 23%, representing 6 million fewer victims.

1.4 Analyse the function of the following in the UK justice system:

· Police

Relating to crime and the UK Justice system the Police become the first agency involved where a crime has been witnessed or noted. Once a crime is reported to the police they can then begin their investigation into that crime and gather all the evidence and witness statements, this stage could take a very long time. Ideally, all their investigations and gathered evidence should lead to identification of the suspects, once identified, the suspects can be arrested, questioned and eventually charged with the crime. Police officers have powers to arrest, search, seize, and interrogate; and if necessary, to use lethal force.

· Crown Prosecution Service

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) is responsible for prosecuting people in England and Wales. They will proceed with prosecution if there is enough evidence to reach a possible conviction and that it is in the public interest to proceed.

The CPS advise the police on possible prosecutions and review cases submitted by the police for prosecution in accordance with the principles in ‘the Code for Crown Prosecutions’ and in appropriate circumstances they may consider alternatives to prosecution.

When a decision has been made to prosecute, the CPS will decide what that charge should be (in all but minor, routine cases) and they will prepare cases and present those cases in court.

· Magistrates Court

It should be noted that criminal offences are divided into 3 main categories, Summary Offences, Tri-able “either way" Offences and Indictable Offences. All of which can initially begin at a Magistrates Court.

Summary Offences, the least serious of the three, which include driving offences, drunk and disorderly, common assault and criminal damage where the damage cost is less than £5000 will all be dealt with at a Magistrates Court as the defendant is not entitled to a trial by jury.

Tri-able “either way” Offences, classed as mid-range offences, which include theft, burglary and assault causing actual bodily harm can be tried at either a Magistrates or a Crown Court. However, these cases will all begin at a Magistrates Court where a decision will be made as to whether or not the case is serious enough to be sent to the Crown Court on indictment.

Indictable Offences, the most serious offences, which include murder, rape and robbery, will all be tried at a Crown Court. Again though, these cases will begin at a Magistrates Court where the Magistrates will decide as to whether or not the defendant will be granted bail.

Magistrates Courts can ‘t order imprisonment sentences of over six month (12 month for consecutive sentences), or fines exceeding £5000. They can impose an Absolute Discharge or a Conditional Discharge usually for the less serious crimes, a Compensation Order or a Community Order for more serious crimes and for the really serious crimes, a prison sentence. In deciding the sentence, the magistrates must consider the facts of the case and the circumstances of the offender. As well as fairly and appropriately punishing the offender and encouraging him/her to make amends for their crime, any sentencing needs to protect the public and contribute to crime reduction by preventing re-offending.

· County Court

The County Court, or Small Claims Court deals with civil matters, particularly financial ones whereas a company or individual believes that someone owes them money or goods. Along with financial matters the County Court deals with family matters such as divorce and adoption, along with housing matters and personal injury claims. Most financial judgements at a County Court will be recorded on a register of County Court Judgements and could be used by banks and the likes to assess a person’s creditworthiness thus affecting the financial status of a debtor.

· Crown Courts

As previously mentioned, Crown Courts deal with the most serious of offences, the indictable offences such as murder, rape and robbery. Offences that are classed as ‘either way’ and appeals from the Magistrates Court can be transferred to the Crown Court along with the sentencing of cases that have been tried at a Magistrates Court where the Magistrates decide that the case warrants a sentence higher than that which they are allowed to impose. Cases in a Crown court are heard by a jury of twelve, ‘law abiding’ citizens who will make judgement as to whether the accused is Guilty or Innocent. Similar to the Magistrates, in deciding the sentence, the Judge must consider the facts of the case and the circumstances of the offender. As well as fairly and appropriately punishing the offender and encouraging him/her to make amends for their crime, any sentencing needs to protect the public and contribute to crime reduction by preventing re-offending.

· Court of Appeal

The Court of Appeal is the second highest court in England and Wales, with only the House of Lords above it.

The Court is divided into two divisions, the Civil Division and the Criminal Division. The Civil Division presided over by the Master of the Rolls deals with appeals from the High Court and County Court whereas the Criminal Division presided over by the Lord Chief Justice handles appeals from the Crown Court and Queens Bench Divisional Court. Both divisions consist of a panel of three Judges known as Lord Justices of Appeal who will reach a decision by majority.

Any decisions made at the Criminal Division are binding over the Crown Court and Magistrates Court but it is not concrete at present as to whether or not these decisions are binding over the Queens Bench Divisional Court.

· Prison Service

According to the Prison Services “Statement of Purpose”, Her Majesty’s Prison Service serves the public by keeping in custody those committed by the courts. Its duty is to look after prisoners with humanity and help them lead law-abiding and useful lives both in custody and after release.

Punishing the offender for the crime that he/she has committed the Prison Service protects the public by holding prisoners in secure conditions with the intention of rehabilitating them and preparing them for release. For security reasons sentenced prisoners are assessed into risk levels, which will be used to decide which type of prison to hold them in. Prisons range from “open” up to “high security” establishments. Men and women are allocated in separate prisons or in separate accommodation within mixed prisons.

· Probation Service

Part of the Criminal Justice System, the function of the Probation Service is also to protect the public, to promote safety in the community and to prevent crime.

The service is actively committed to rehabilitate offenders who have been given Community Sentences and those released from prison to respectively enforce the conditions of their court orders and release licenses. They are also committed to minimise the impact of crime on communities and especially individual victims who have been affected by serious violent or sexually violent crimes.

· HM Customs and Revenue

In respect of the UK justice system, the function of HM Customs and Revenue (HM Revenue and Customs, HMCR) is to ensure that money is available to fund the UK’s public services, which would include the police, the courts and the prisons.

They also play a part in the reduction of crime and drug dependency by detecting and deterring the smuggling into the UK of illegal drugs and other prohibited materials.

Comments greatly appreciated!


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