Generally, though somewhat crudely, thought of as a system for controlling agencies and individuals. In relation to policing a distinction is often drawn between individual forms of accountability (‘controlling the constable’) and organisational accountability (oversight of the policies and processes of constabularies).
A term that refers to the increasing use of risk assessment and other forms of calculation to manage offending populations.
A term originally coined by Jock Young to capture a trend within criminology which focused on increasing the efficiency of the criminal justice system, particularly via situationally-based crime prevention.
A particular style of criminal justice, which treats the process as a competition. In particular, in the criminal trial the defence and prosecution oppose each other, each seeking to establish the strength of their own case, or contradict or undermine the other. This approach is generally contrasted with what are described as inquisitorial criminal justice systems.
As a shorthand, often referred to as a state of ‘normlessness’. Associated originally with Emile Durkheim, and developed by Robert Merton, within criminology the term has been used to draw attention to the ways in which the limited access to approved social goals (wealth, success, fame) through legitimate means may lead some to adopt illegitimate means.
Defined in law as behaviour that causes or is likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress. Since 1998 a large number of measures – most notably anti-social behaviour orders (ASBOs) – have been introduced to deal with such sub-criminal conduct.
Anti-Social Behaviour Order. Introduced by the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 and extended by further legislation, in particular the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003.
A term used to refer to the process by which only a proportion of crimes committed eventually find their way into the criminal justice process and into the criminal courts. The main reasons that crimes don’t reach the courts include non-reporting, non-recording, failure to identify a suspect and insufficient evidence to proceed with charges.
Along with other forms of ‘positivism’, approaches human behaviour as something that is largely determined by external factors. In the case of biological positivism, the search for explanation lies in human biology and physiology – these factors being held to play a significant influence in particular forms of behaviour.
Indicating that there is close agreement in some important area of public policy between the main political parties. In criminology, the term tends to be used to describe aspects of the period prior to the mid- to late-1970s; a period in which there was a generalised political consensus around issues of crime and punishment. With the gradual politicisation of law and order this consensus was fractured and disappeared. Some would argue that the period since the mid-1990s has seen the emergence of a new bipartisan consensus – this time around populist punitiveness.
British Crime Survey (BCS)
A victimization survey, first conducted in 1982, and now conducted annually (on a rolling basis). Asks respondents – aged over 16 – a series of quite detailed questions about any crimes they might have experienced in the previous 12 months, as well as exploring their perceptions of crime locally and nationally. One of our two (with policerecorded crime statistics) methods of measuring trends in crime.
The title of an article by James Q. Wilson and George Kelling, published in 1982, in which they argued that successful community crime prevention must involve a focus on relatively ‘minor’ forms of disorder – such as vandalism and graffiti – as well as targeting more serious offences. It is the low-level incivilities, they argue, that undermine local social cohesion, with the likelihood that more serious crime will flourish. This ‘philosophy’ is closely associated with socalled zero-tolerance policing in New York City and with the British government’s antisocial behaviour agenda.
An offence of burglary is recorded by the police if a person enters any building as a trespasser and with intent to commit an offence of theft, grievous bodily harm or unlawful damage. Burglary does not necessarily involve forced entry; it may be through an open window, or by entering the property under false pretences (e.g. impersonating an official). A distinction is drawn between ‘domestic’ burglary, where the premises are a dwelling (or connected outhouse or garage), and ‘non-domestic’ burglary for other kinds of premises (including detached garages, sheds, commercial premises, schools, hospitals, etc.). A burglary does not entail forced entry or actual loss of goods.
An offence is deemed to be detected if an offender has been cautioned by the police or given a reprimand or warning under the Crime and Disorder Act 1998. A caution may be given by, or on the instructions of, a senior police officer when an offender admits guilt, where there is sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction, where the offender consents, or where it does not seem in the public interest to instigate criminal proceedings. The Crime and Disorder Act 1998 reformed the youth cautioning system introducing what are known as ‘reprimands’ and ‘final warnings’.
A term used to refer to a particularly influential group of sociologists based at the University of Chicago in the first half of the twentieth century. Noted for their ‘ecological’ approach to the explanation of crime in the city, Chicago School sociology had a profound influence on the use of ethnographic approaches to research and to the development of what these days tends to be referred to as environmental criminology.
An early criminological school based upon the assumption that criminals are rational actors capable of choosing between different courses of action. Models of punishment influenced by such approaches tend, therefore, to argue that the extent of the penalty involved should only be what is sufficient to modify behaviour.
An approach to treatment or therapy which focuses both upon how people think and how they behave – and assumes that these things interact. In relation to criminality such approaches may, for example, seek to work on the decision-making strategies that offenders engage in.
Community orders (sentences)
A term used to refer to penalties imposed by a criminal court which involve some form of supervision – most usually by the Probation Service. Thus, imprisonment is excluded as are penalties such as fines, compensation orders and discharges that tend not to involve supervision. Until the Criminal Justice Act 2003, which introduced a single Community Order with different requirements, these penalties were known by a variety of different names such as probation order, community service order and combination order among others.
A police organisational strategy that decentralises policing, seeks to be responsive to local citizen demands and to incorporate a general problem-oriented approach to policing, and to helping communities solve crime problems collaboratively, often through partnership working. 946 Glossary
A term that came into common usage in the 1990s to indicate a broader, community-based approach to prevention than typically associated with the term ‘crime prevention’. Where crime prevention had been closely associated with the police, those using the term community safety sought to emphasise the importance of the involvement of a broader range of agencies in preventative activity, as well as extending the potential focus of such activities beyond crime to other forms of disorder and other hazards.
Refers to crimes committed by corporations, or by influential individuals within corporations, where the illegal act is carried out with the intention of furthering the goals of that organisation.
Crime and Disorder Reduction
Local bodies in England and Wales with statutory responsibility for crime and disorder issues, set up under the terms of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998. Their responsibilities have subsequently been reformed by the Police and Justice Act 2006.
Measures aimed at preventing crime. In recent times the term has become particularly associated with police and physicial security/situational crime prevention measures.
A term favoured by Labour governments since 1997, in part to distinguish activities from the difficult task of preventing crime on the one hand, and from the looser focus on community safety on the other.
A field of academic endeavour that seeks to distinguish itself from the broader subject of criminology by narrowing its focus to the aim of preventing or reducing crime. Much influenced by rational choice and opportunity theories, crime science tends to be hostile to sociologically-informed criminology.
Criminal damage results from any person who without lawful excuse destroys or damages any property belonging to another, intending to destroy or damage any such property or being reckless as to whether any such property would be destroyed or damaged.
The processes by which certain acts, or particular people or groups, are defined as criminal.
A recently emerging strand of criminological theory that combines traditional sociological theories with aspects of cultural studies. Dominated by ethnographic, ‘appreciative’ understandings of crime, the approach in much cultural criminology is resonant of aspects of earlier sociologies of deviance.
Deterrence (general and specific)
An approach to punishment which rests on the belief that it will prevent future offending. It may do so in two ways: either by persuading those who are punished not to engage in such behaviour again (referred to as specific or individual deterrence) or by the broader impact that the existence of a system of punishment has upon the population at large (referred to as general deterrence).
Developmental (crime) prevention
An approach to the prevention of crime through the study and application of interventions at various stages in the life course. Often focused on individuals or groups perceived to be at risk, developmental prevention often seeks to prevent the ‘onset’ (the start) or the progression of offending.
A term which conveys the idea that deviant conduct may be exacerbated by intolerant social responses. Linked in particular with labelling theory.
Associated with Edwin Sutherland, differential association concerns the idea that our behaviour is heavily influenced by those with whom we interact. More particularly, Sutherland argued that a person becomes delinquent in circumstances in which the attitudes of the people with whom they associate tend, on balance, to favour the violation of the law rather than the reverse.
Often thought to be the Achilles heel of crime prevention, the Glossary 947 term displacement refers to the possibility that crimes are simply ‘moved around’ (in time, space and so on) rather than prevented by activities such as increased street lighting, CCTV and the like.
Violence within the household – in particular, though not exclusively, domestic violence is used to refer to the physical, sexual or emotional abuse of women by male partners.
Due process and crime control
Terms associated with Herbert Packer to distinguish two ideal typical approaches to criminal justice. Each is characterised by different values and objectives: crime control approaches tending to emphasise the importance of convicting the guilty and due process approaches placing greater emphasis upon the importance of protections against the wrongful conviction of the innocent.
Often called ‘tagging’, such monitoring generally involves the use of a ‘tag’ or bracelet worn around the ankle. The systems allow the Probation Service or other body to monitor the whereabouts of offenders and to encourage compliance with the terms of community orders or the terms of release from prison.
An approach to research that seeks to assess particular programmes, policies or interventions. Evaluation may focus on process (how things work or are implemented), outputs (what is produced) and outcomes (the impact of the programme, policy or intervention).
A term from political science and sociological literature that focuses on the systems of regulation and ordering (governing) contemporary societies. Where this once might have focused on the agencies/institutions of the state, the term is now generally taken to refer to strategies of governing both within and beyond the state.
An approach to prevention, particularly in relation to drugs policy, that emphasises the importance of focusing on the reduction of the social- and health-related harms that are associated with such behaviour (by contrast with approaches which emphasise either abstinence and/or law enforcement).
The government department that historically has been responsible for internal affairs in England and Wales (http://www.homeoffice. gov.uk). Restructuring of government in 2007 saw the creation of a Ministry of Justice and the passing of responsibilities for much of criminal justice, including probation and prisons, from the Home Office to the new department.
Comprises the recorded crimes of murder, manslaughter and infanticide.
Basic entitlements that are argued to be general in their application (i.e. applicable to citizens of all nations). There are a number of formal human rights protocols, the most important of which is arguably the European Convention. The Convention on Human Rights was incorporated into UK law as a result of the Human Rights Act 1998.
An approach to punishment which stresses the importance of prevention through incarceration/imprisonment or other restriction (it is worth remembering that imprisonment doesn’t prevent crimes being committed within prisons).
A means of indicating the extent of the use of imprisonment. The incarceration rate is normally expressed as the number of people per 100,000 population that are subject to imprisonment in a year.
This refers to the number of crimes or, alternatively, the number of crimes in relation to a particular population. Incidence and prevalence are arguably the two commonest measurements of crime levels.
By contrast with adversarialism, inquisitorialism is held to place greater emphasis in the justice process on the search for truth. Rather than two sides in a context, such systems are suggested to be more concerned with examining the likelihood of events having happened, or having occurred in a particular way. 948 Glossary
A term applied by the Lawrence Inquiry to the Metropolitan Police and defined by the Inquiry as ‘The collective failure of an organisation to provide an appropriate and professional service to people because of their colour, culture or ethnic origin. It can be seen in processes, attitudes and behaviour which amount to discrimination through unwitting prejudice, ignorance, thoughtlessness and racist stereotyping which disadvantage minority ethnic people’ (1999: 6.34).
Essentially, a model which seeks to increase the effectiveness of policing through greater emphasis on the collection and analysis of intelligence and the development of targeted responses to that analysis.
A sentencing philosophy which argues that discretion should be limited and that punishment should be proportionate to the seriousness of the offence committed.
The application of a label or identity to a person or a group in a way that has some consequential effect on behaviour. Labelling theory focuses upon the way that deviant activity may be understood as the application of labels and, at least in part, as the reaction to such processes.
An approach to criminological theory which was, in part, a reaction to and criticism of existing radical theories in the 1970s and 1980s. Left realism argued that radical theories had underestimated the impact of crime on ordinary people and had romanticised offending. Using local crime surveys, early left realist criminology sought to measure the extent and impact of crime in local, predominantly working-class neighbourhoods.
Limited or bounded rationality
A term used to indicate that even though individuals may make poor decisions, often based on incomplete or simply inadequate information, they are nonetheless rational actors.
Managerialism (or ‘new public
A term associated with the shift in government policy towards ‘new public management’ characterised by, among other things: elements of privatisation; marketisation; the increased use of performance indicators; a growing emphasis on outputs and outcomes; partnership working; and the redesignation of clients as ‘customers’.
Where sentencers (judges or magistrates) have little or no discretion, and legal guidelines impose an obligation to impose a particular type of sentence, or a particular length of sentence. Though relativey unusual in UK law, there have been increasing examples of mandatory sentencing in recent years from the ‘three strikes’-style sentences included in the Crime (Sentences) Act 1997 to the restorative justice-influenced initiatives in the Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999.
Moral panic (and folk devil)
A term now lastingly associated with Stanley Cohen. His definition is still the most apposite. Periods of moral panic, he suggested occur when a ‘condition, episode, person or group of persons emerges to become defined as a threat to societal values and interests (these are the ‘folk devils’); its nature is presented in a stylized and stereotypical fashion by the mass media...’.
A report from the Standing Committee on Crime Prevention published in 1991 which had a significant impact on crime prevention and community safety policy, notably when New Labour came to power in 1997.
National Crime Victimization Survey
A victimization survey conducted in the USA since the early 1970s. It is the US counterpart of the British Crime Survey.
National Offender Management
An amalgam of the Prison and Probation Services. The National Offender Management Service (NOMS) was established in 2004 following a review of ‘corrections’ by Sir Patrick Carter the previous year. The intention behind this amalgamation is to provide seamless services to offenders before, Glossary 949 during and after imprisonment. However, the creation of NOMS has been beset by difficulties.
Neighbourhood Watch (NW)
Undoubtedly the best known and most widely adopted crime prevention programme in the UK (in which local residents take responsibility for watching each other’s property and generally remaining alert to local crime opportunities and problems). NW first appeared in the early 1980s, was promoted initially by the Metropolitan Police and has now spread nationwide.
Offender profiling is a set of techniques used by law enforcement agencies to try to identify perpetrators of serious crime. There has been a rapidly growing interest in this subject over recent years both within the police service and in the media through films like Silence of the Lambs and television programmes such as Cracker.
Sometimes referred to as ‘syndicated crime’, such activities are organised in the sense that they involve criminal collaboration, take place over an extended period of time, and tend to use violence or other forms of coercion to maintain discipline. Associated with gangsterism, organised crime is a staple of popular entertainment where portrayals of the mafia have long been a central element of television and cinema. Increasingly, organised crime is treated as a feature of globalisation, with criminal networks (involved for example in smuggling and trafficking of people and products) extending across the world.
A plan for a particular style of prison, primarily associated with the utilitarian philosopher Jeremy Bentham. The institution was to be designed with a central inspection tower around which cells would be arranged so that prisoners could, in principle, be viewed at all times without knowing whether they were being watched. The intention behind this ‘inspection principle’ was to inculcate discipline through self-control.
Early release from prison on licence (and a promise of good behaviour). The system is administered by the Parole Board, a non-departmental public body (NDPB) established in 1967 to advise the Home Secretary (now the Minister of Justice).
Criminal justice agencies are increasingly expected to work jointly with other organisations and agencies in preventing and reducing crime. Thus, for example, the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 established crime and disorder reduction partnerships comprising representatives of the police, local authorities, and health and probation services. It also established multi-agency youth offending teams including representatives of a range of agencies and, more recently, the prison and probation services have been progressively merged into a single body: NOMS.
The term (and its near neighbour populist punitiveness) refers to the rise of a new politics of crime from the early 1990s onward. In particular, it refers to the growing politicisation of crime control and to the apparent increasing desire of politicians to defer to public opinion (or certain forms of public opinion) when making decisions on crime policy. Such populism has coincided with a growing punitiveness in penal policy, captured in such phrases as ‘prison works’ and ‘tough on crime’.
A target against which ‘performance’ can be gauged. The police are subject to an increasing array of performance indicators, including those contained in the National Policing Plan, local policing plans and as part of Best Value.
Policing has become increasingly complex and the set of activities we understand as ‘policing’ is clearly delivered by a broad, and increasing, array of providers. These include the commercial security sector; new public sector provision such as local authority patrol, municipal police forces and wardens (as well as informal policing such as vigilantism); the range of regulatory agencies within local and national government; together with those 950 Glossary transnational policing agencies that operate beyond individual states.
Police-recorded crime statistics
Until the early 1970s in America and the early 1980s in Britain, these were the main source of information about crime. The data are a reflection of crimes that are reported to, and are recorded by, the police. As many crimes are never reported to the police such statistics are incomplete and, in part, it is this shortcoming that led to the search for other sources of data and, in particular, the development of victimization surveys.
The number of people or places that are victimized. The prevalence rate is generally presented as the number of people or places per hundred, thousand or hundred thousand that have been victimized at least once. Prevalence rates are thus to be distinguished from incidence rates.
Primary crime prevention
This generally refers to action that is targeted at a general population and which aims to prevent crime before it occurs (see also ‘secondary prevention’ and ‘tertiary prevention’).
Primary and secondary deviance
Terms associated with Edwin Lemert. Primary deviance refers simply to acts that are defined as deviant. Secondary deviance occurs when someone begins to employ their deviant identity as the basis for their actions.
At its simplest, the shift of ownership and control from the public to the private sector. In practice, privatisation can cover a range of policies including civilianisation, ‘contracting out’, the increasing use of sponsorship and private finance and the establishment of public–private partnerships.
An approach to explaining criminality which focuses on the psychological orientations and dispositions of those committing crimes. Referred to as psychological positivism as such approaches traditionally saw individual behaviour as being largely determined by such factors.
In general, the system of sanctions imposed by criminal courts in response to offending. More particularly, the term may be used to refer to specific penalties imposed as a result of such wrongdoing.
A body of criminological theory, influenced by Marxist sociology, which emphasises the importance of social inequalities and power relationships in the processes by which certain forms of behaviour, and particular groups in the population, are criminalised. More particularly, such approaches tend to view the criminal justice system as part of a broader system by which relatively powerless groups – the working classes – are kept in a subordinate position.
A theory which emphasises the importance of rationality in human action, even if this is limited (or ‘bounded’). Rational choice theories of crime emphasise the decision-making processes involved in the choices made by offenders, and tend to seek means by which to manipulate those processes, i.e. to persuade offenders or potential offenders to make different decisions (generally by attempting to alter the balance between the costs of particular actions as against potential rewards).
Rehabilitation is a treatment-based process, intervention or programme to enable individuals to overcome previous difficulties linked to their offending. Belief in the ‘rehabilitative ideal’ – i.e. that lawbreaking tendencies could be changed by criminal justice interventions – peaked in the 1960s but declined in the 1970s and 1980s when the belief that ‘nothing works’ became the prevailing orthodoxy.
A theory, associated with John Braithwaite, which proposes that, used positively, shaming may form a central part of work with offenders in the process of reintegration. Such process are contrasted by Braithwaite with ‘labelling’ which tends to be negative in its connotations and impact, and which he refers to as ‘disintegrative shaming’. Glossary 951
The observation, based largely on data drawn from victimization surveys, that criminal victimization is not evenly distributed, but is concentrated in particular places and on particular people. The fact that some places and people are likely to be repeatedly victimized has given rise to a substantial body of work examining the crime prevention impact of focusing resources on those who are most likely to be the victim of further offences.
A term referring to a set of strategies adopted by governments where the aim is to redistribute the crime control and crime prevention activities beyond the state. It is associated with terms such as partnership, multi- and inter-agency co-operation, active citizenship and active communities.
Restorative justice (RJ)
One of the most significant social movements in criminal justice reform in recent times. Often viewed simply in opposition to formal justice, the most commonly used definition is of a ‘process whereby the parties with a stake in a particular offence come together to resolve collectively how to deal with the aftermath of the offence and its implications for the future’ (Marshall, 1996: 37).
In relation to punishment, the term refers to a justification based on vengeance – of society ‘getting its own back’ for offences committed. Punishment from such a position need not seek to rehabilitate or deter – it merely involves retribution.
Just as left realism was in part a response to perceived shortcomings of existing radical theories, right realism also rejected such explanations for criminality. In this case, it sought explanation in moral decline, in the failures of welfarism and in the inadequacy of current systems of punishment.
Factors which research suggests are statistically associated with increased likelihood of engagement in crime or other forms of anti-social conduct. It is generally thought that such factors are not akin to individual ‘causes’ of crime but, rather, in combination elevate the chances that particular individuals will engage in criminal conduct.
An incident or offence in which force or the threat of force is used either during or immediately prior to a theft or attempted theft.
Routine activities theory
A theory, associated primarily with Marcus Felson, which suggests that for crime to occur three factors must be present: a motivated offender; a suitable victim; and the absence of capable guardians.
Secondary crime prevention
Secondary prevention is action targeted at known offenders in order to reduce offending and/or the harms associated with offending (see also ‘primary’ and ‘tertiary prevention’)
Situational crime prevention
According to Ron Clarke (1992: 4) this refers to: ‘a pre-emptive approach that relies, not on improving society or its institutions, but simply on reducing opportunities for crime…Situational prevention comprises opportunityreducing measures that are (1) directed at highly specific forms of crime, (2) that involve the management, design or manipulation of the immediate environment in as specific and permanent way as possible (3) so as to increase the effort and risks of crime and reduce the rewards as perceived by a wide range of offenders.’
Social control theories
Theories which take various forms but which, at heart, assume that everyone would commit crimes given the opportunity, but are prevented from doing so by a variety of controls – some external (i.e. social) and some internal (i.e. psychological).
Social crime prevention
By contrast with situational crime prevention, such approaches tend to focus on informal controls that are held to inhibit offending behaviour most of the time.
A theoretical approach within criminology that places emphasis on the social determinants of 952 Glossary behaviour, and pays little regard to individual deicision-making or choice.
Linked with the notion of anomie, strain theory focuses upon the failure to achieve socially approved goals and the problems this creates. Such ‘strain’ may result in a variety of adaptations, one of which is to engage in deviant activity.
Sociological theories that traditionally focused on working-class subcultures and the ways in which alternative value systems might form the basis for deviant activity. Subcultural theory tends to proceed from the assumption that behaviour may be understood as a largely rational means of solving problems (possibly only symbolically) thrown up by existing social circumstances.
Techniques of neutralisation
A term associated with Sykes and Matza, and referring to a set of justifications that may be used to ‘neutralize’ the deviant character of certain behaviours. These include (among others): denial of responsibility (I wasn’t to blame); denial of injury (they were insured anyway); denial of the victim (they were asking for it); and appeal to higher loyalties (I was only obeying orders).
Another term that is highly problematic to define but, in shorthand, is often referred to simply as ‘political violence’. The definition of terrorism in s. 1 of the Terrorism Act 2000 includes actual or threatened acts of violence against people and/or property designed to influence the government, to intimidate the public or a section of the public, or to advance a political, religious or ideological cause.
Tertiary crime prevention
Tertiary crime prevention tends to be targeted at known offenders in order to reduce offending and/or harms associated with offending (see also ‘primary prevention’ and ‘secondary crime prevention’).
A reference to the system of governance established originally by the Police Act 1964; ‘tripartite’ because it has three pillars: chief constables, local police authorities and the Home Secretary. The system has subsequently been reformed, in particular by the Police and Magistrates’ Courts Act 1994 and by the Police Act 2002.
A philosophy often summarised as involving concern with promoting the sum of human happiness (the greatest happiness of the greatest number). In relation to punishment, therefore, utilitarian philosophy tends to focus upon the goal of the prevention or reduction of crime.
Recorded vehicle crimes include offences of theft of or from a vehicle, aggravated vehicle taking, vehicle interference and tampering, and criminal damage to a vehicle. Theft of a vehicle includes offences of theft of a vehicle and aggravated vehicle taking.
Defined originally by Edwin Sutherland as offences committed by high status individuals within the workplace or in the interests of the organisation.
A term used by some critics of traditional criminology. Such critics argue that the socially constructed nature of crime means that the subject of criminology lacks coherence. By contrast, they advocate the study of social harms (zemiology) rather than crimes.
A term that has become associated with a particular style of policing – notably that adopted by the New York Police Department in the 1990s. Influenced by Wilson and Kelling’s broken windows thesis, this approach involves concentrated initiatives against low-level offences, the use of civil remedies against those perceived to be involved in crime, and aggressive action against street crimes. Glossary 953