Explaining the Crime Drop II: Responding to Crime in England and Wales

Part of the Critical Criminological Perspectives book series (CCRP)


This Chapter explores the extent to which the English and Welsh criminal justice system responded to the increases in crime experienced in the 1980s. I find that the criminal justice system did indeed respond in a punitive fashion (in keeping with New Right rhetoric on this matter) although not until the early- to mid-1990s. At this point not only did punitive policies increase and proliferate, non-punitive policies abruptly stopped and crime prevention (based on neo-liberal and neo-conservative thinking) was adopted.


1980s new right Neo-liberalism Neo-conservativism Thatcherism Crime policies Crime drop 


  1. Ashworth, A. (1992). Criminal Justice Act 1991 (2) Non-custodial Sentencing. Criminal Law Review, Apr., 242–251.Google Scholar
  2. Ashworth, A. (1995). Coping with the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act. Criminal Law Review, Jan., 1–3.Google Scholar
  3. Bell, E. (2013). Punishment as politics. In V. Ruggerio & M. Ryan (Eds.), Punishment in Europe (pp. 56–85). Basingstoke: Palgrave.Google Scholar
  4. Birch, D. (1989). The Criminal Justice Act 1988: (2) Documentary evidence. Criminal Law Review, Jan., 15–31.Google Scholar
  5. Boland, R. (1988). Annual review of population law. New York: United Nations Population Fund.Google Scholar
  6. Burney, E. (1985). Sentencing young people: What went wrong with the Criminal Justice Act 1982? Aldershot: Gower.Google Scholar
  7. Cavadino, M., & Dignan, J. (1992). The penal system: An introduction. Michigan: Sage.Google Scholar
  8. Cavadino, M., & Dignan, J. (2007). The penal system, 4/e. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  9. Cavadino, P., & Gibson, P. (1993). Bail: The law, Best practice and the debate. Winchester: Waterside Press.Google Scholar
  10. Collison, M. (1995). Police, drugs and community. New York: Free Associated Books.Google Scholar
  11. Cooper, J. (2008). 1998–2008: State and citizen—When two parties break up. New Law Journal, 159, 80.Google Scholar
  12. Dixon, D. (2008). Authorise and regulate. In E. Cape & R. Young (Eds.), Regulating policing: The Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (pp. 21–44). Oxford: Hart Publishing.Google Scholar
  13. Edwards, A. (1994). Criminal law update—New developments in bail and sentencing and clarification of one aspect of the standard fee scheme. Law Society Guardian Gazette, 91, 20.Google Scholar
  14. Edwards, I. (2010). Essential resource for professionals serving the criminal courts since 1837: Penal policy under the coalition government. Criminal Law & Justice Weekly, 174, 421–424.Google Scholar
  15. Farrall, S., & Hay, C. (2014). Exploring and theorising the long-term impacts of Thatcherite social and economic policies. In S. Farrall & C. Hay (Eds.), Thatcher’s legacy. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Farrall, S., Gray, E., Jennings, W., & Hay, C. (2016). Thatcherite ideology, housing tenure, and crime: The socio-spatial consequences of the right to buy for domestic property crime. British Journal of Criminology, 56(6), 1235–1252.Google Scholar
  17. Farrell, G., & Brown, R. (2016). On the origins of the crime drop. Howard Journal of Crime and Justice, 55(1–2), 226–237.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Faulkner, D. (2001). Crime, state and citizen. Winchester: Waterside Press.Google Scholar
  19. Faulkner, D. (2014). Servant of the crown. Winchester: Waterside Press.Google Scholar
  20. Feldman, D. (1989). Conveyancers and the proceeds of crime. Conveyancer and Property Lawyer, Nov–Dec, 389–402.Google Scholar
  21. Fionda, J. A. (1999). Crime and Disorder Act 1998: New labour, old hat: Youth justice and the Crime and Disorder Act 1998. Criminal Law Review, Jan, 36–47.Google Scholar
  22. Fyfe, N., & Bannister, J. (1996). City watching: Closed circuit television surveillance in public spaces. Area, 28(1), 37–46.Google Scholar
  23. Garlick, H. (1990). The Drug Trafficking Act 1986. International Insolvency, 3(9), 68–70.Google Scholar
  24. Gibson, B., Cavadino, P., Rutherford, A., Ashworth, A., & Harding, J. (1994). Criminal justice in transition. Winchester, UK: Waterside Press.Google Scholar
  25. Gilling, D. (1994). Multi-agency crime prevention in Britain. Crime Prevention Studies, 3, 231–248.Google Scholar
  26. Gold, S. (1988). No law like criminal law. New Law Journal, 138, 753.Google Scholar
  27. Hamilton, C. (2014). Reconceptualising penality: Towards a multidimensional measure of punitiveness. British Journal of Criminology, 54(2), 321–343.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Hay, C. (1996). Restating social and political change. Milton Keynes: Open University Press.Google Scholar
  29. Hay, C. (2002). Political analysis. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Hay, C. (2011). Ideas and the construction of Interests. In D. Beland & R. H. Cox (Eds.), Ideas and politics in social science research (pp. 65–82). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  31. Hay, C., & Farrall, S. (2011). Establishing the ontological status of Thatcherism by gauging its ‘periodisability’: Towards a ‘cascade theory’ of public policy radicalism. British Journal of Politics and International Relations, 13(4), 439–458.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Hay, C. (2015). Social constructivism. In M. Bevir & R. A. W. Rhodes (Eds.), The handbook of interpretive political science. Abingdon: Routledge.Google Scholar
  33. Hayes, M. (1994). The new right in Britain. London: Pluto Press.Google Scholar
  34. Hope, T. (2009). The political evolution of situation crime prevention in England and Wales. In A. Crawford (Ed.), Crime prevention policies in comparative perspective (pp. 38–61). Cullomption: Willan.Google Scholar
  35. Hope, T. & Sparks, R. (2000). For a sociological theory of situations (Or how useful is a pragmatic criminology?). In A. von Hirsch, D. Garland & A. Wakefield (Eds.), Situational crime prevention (pp. 175–191). Oxford: Hart Publishing.Google Scholar
  36. Jacobs, A. (2015). Process tracing the effects of ideas. In A. Bennett & J. Checkel (Eds.), Process tracing (pp. 41–73). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  37. Jefferson, T. (1990). The case against paramilitary policing. Milton Keynes: OUP.Google Scholar
  38. Jones, H., & Sager, T. (2001). Crime and Disorder Act 1998: Prostitution and the anti-social behaviour order. Criminal Law Review, 837, 873–885.Google Scholar
  39. Kirk, D. (2008). All change. Journal of Criminal Law, 72, 179.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Koffman, L. (2006). The rise and fall of proportionality: The failure of the Criminal Justice Act 1991. Criminal Law Review, Apr, 281–299.Google Scholar
  41. Krasner, S. (1984). Approaches to the state. Comparative Politics, 16(2), 223–246.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Leng, R., & Taylor, R. (1996). Criminal Procedure and Investigations Act 1996. London: Blackstone Press.Google Scholar
  43. Loader, Ian. (2006). Fall of the platonic guardians. British Journal of Criminology, 46, 561–586.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Maguire, M. (1988). Effects of the “P.A.C.E”. Provisions on detention and questioning. British Journal of Criminology, 28(1), 19–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Marsh, D., & Rhodes, R. (1992). Implementing Thatcherite policies. Milton Keynes: Open University Press.Google Scholar
  46. Matthews, R. (2005). The myth of punitiveness. Theoretical Criminology, 9(2), 175–201.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. McBarnet, D. (1978). The fisher report on the Confait case: Four issues. Modern Law Review, 41(4), 455–463.Google Scholar
  48. Morgan, J. (1990). The police function and the investigation of crime. Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Avebury.Google Scholar
  49. Newburn, T. (2003). Crime & criminal justice policy, 2/e. London: Pearson.Google Scholar
  50. O’Malley, P. (1994). Neoliberal crime control: Political agendas and the future of crime prevention in Australia. In D. Chappell & P. Wilson (Eds.), The Australian criminal justice system. Sydney: Butterworths.Google Scholar
  51. Padfield, N. (1998). Legislative comment—The Crime and Disorder Act 1998. Archbold News, 8, 6–8.Google Scholar
  52. Phillips, L. (1998). Hegemony and political discourse: The lasting impact of Thatcherism. Sociology, 32(4), 847–867.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Pickford, J., & Dugmore, P. (2012). Youth justice in social work. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  54. Pierson, P. (1994). Dismantling the welfare state?. Cambridge: CUP.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Pierson, P. (2004). Politics in time. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  56. Pitts, J., & Hope, T. (1997). The local politics of inclusion. Social Policy & Administration, 31(5), 37–58.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Riddell, P. (1991). The Thatcher era and its legacy. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  58. Robinson, R. (2013). Punctuated equilibrium and the supreme court. Policy Studies Journal, 41(4), 654–681.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Robson, G. (2010). Essential resource for professionals serving the criminal courts since 1837: Sympathy for sentencers? Criminal Law & Justice Weekly, 174, 710–712.Google Scholar
  60. Rutherford, A. (1996). Custodial sentencing. New Law Journal, 147, 99.Google Scholar
  61. Sanders, E. (2006). Historical institutionalism. In R. A. W. Rhodes, S. A. Binder, & B. A. Rockman (Eds.), The Oxford handbook of political institutions. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  62. Sanders, A., Young, R., & Burton, M. (2010). Criminal Justice (4/e). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  63. Skinns, L. (2011). Police custody. Cullompton: Willan Publishing.Google Scholar
  64. Smith, R. (2003). Youth justice. Cullompton: Willan Publishing.Google Scholar
  65. Terrill, R. (1989). Margaret Thatcher’s law and order agenda. The American Journal of Comparative Law, 37(3), 429–456.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Thelen, K., & Steinmo, S. (1992). Historical institutionalism in comparative politics. In S. Steinmo, K. Thelen, & F. Longstreth (Eds.), Structuring politics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  67. Thomas, D. A. (1989). The Criminal Justice Act 1988: (4) The sentencing provisions. Criminal Law Review, January, 43–55.Google Scholar
  68. Thomas, D. A. (1997). Legislative comment—The Crime (Sentences) Act 1997. Archbold News, (9), 5–8.Google Scholar
  69. Thomas, D. A. (1998 February). The Crime (Sentences) Act 1997. Criminal Law Review, 83–92.Google Scholar
  70. Wasik, M., & Taylor, R. D. (1991). Blackstone’s guide to The Criminal Justice Act 1991. London: Blackstone Press Limited.Google Scholar
  71. Wasik, M., & Taylor, R. (1995). Blackstone’s guide to The Criminal Justice & Public Order Act 1994. London: Blackstone Press.Google Scholar
  72. Wiles, P. (1988). Law, order and the state. In C. Graham & T. Prosser (Eds.), Waiving the rules. Milton Keynes: Open University Press.Google Scholar
  73. Windlesham, Lord. (1993). Responses to crime (Vol. 2). Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  74. Zander, M. (2013). The Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, 6 R/e. London: Sweet & Maxwell.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of SheffieldSheffieldUK

Personalised recommendations