The Recording by the Police of Crimes of Violence
In recent discussions on the means of prevention of crimes of violence, the attention of the public has been mainly focused upon the extent to which the courts have adequate penal measures for dealing with persons convicted of violent offences.1 It is, of course, essential that a detailed examination should be made of the types of penal sanctions available to the courts and the extent to which they are applied in practice;2 but it would appear that the discussions which take place are often based upon two important and unproved assumptions which, if acted upon, might result in the development of an erroneous penal policy. The first assumption is that all crimes of violence are automatically reported to the police and recorded by them and consequently any increase in the statistical trend in crimes of violence is taken to indicate that an absolute or real increase has occurred.3 The second assumption is that all, or at least the vast majority of, crimes of violence recorded by the police result in a detection and a conviction, i.e. that all offenders have been detected, brought to trial and convicted of their offences. However, an examination of data collected in the course of the present enquiry showed that neither of these assumptions is in fact true.
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