This Is London from the Evening Standard
Who Says Britain/Ireland Cannot be the Best in Europe?
Britain/Ireland, Europe's Crime Capitals, Vacuous Societies of Avarice!!
Britain is the most burgled country in Europe, a disturbing crime survey reveals.
Levels of assault are also the highest across the EU, while car theft, robbery and sex offences are well above average.
In the overall crime league, the UK comes second only to Ireland, with more than a fifth of the population in both countries exposed to crime in the past year.
The findings are a blow to ministers who claim crime is falling, and to campaigners who claim the UK locks up too many offenders compared with other European countries.
Comprehensive research discovered that an astonishing five per cent of the population had suffered assault involving threats of violence over the past year - the highest rate in Europe.
Particularly embarrassing for the Government is the clear link researchers found between levels of violent crime and alcohol consumption - at a time when booze-fuelled violence is rising in the wake of the 24-hour drinking reforms.
The European Crime and Safety Survey is a joint project involving the United Nations and the EU Commission involving some 40,000 interviews across the continent, and is described as 'the most comprehensive analysis of crime, security and safety ever conducted in the EU'.
Instead of relying on official crime data published by EU governments, the researchers started from scratch, asking huge numbers of adults about their experiences during 2004.
Measuring the level of common crimes across the EU, Britain was ranked second worst after Ireland.
The offences which were considered included vehicle related problems such as having a car stolen or something stolen from it, plus theft, burglary, robbery, rape and sexual assault, assaults and threats, hate crimes, consumer fraud, corruption - such as bribery by government officials or police - and exposure to drug-related problems, such as seeing drugs dealt or taken in public.
On average around 15 per cent of Europeans had been victims of one of the crimes over the past year, but in the UK the figure was 21 per cent and in Ireland 22.
Germany, France, Italy and Spain were all below average, with between nine and 14 per cent. Hungary's crime levels were only around half of those in Britain, while those in Portugal and Greece were almost as low.
Yet England and Wales has more prisoners per head of population, at 148 per 100,000, than any other country in Western Europe apart from Luxembourg. In Germany the rate is 94 while in France it is just 85.
The prison population in England and Wales has soared to record levels of more than 80,000 - up from around 60,000 in 1997 when Labour came to power - leaving the system in crisis as ministers struggle against chronic and worsening overcrowding.
Opponents of imprisonment claim the jails are full because of a Draconian approach to law and order which sees too many criminals locked up.
But the EU report suggests that in fact levels of crime in the UK are so high that it would be justified to imprison even greater numbers of offenders.
Shadow Home Secretary David Davis said: 'There is no doubt that because of the Government's failure to address the chronic lack of capacity in our prisons people that should be in jail are not in jail.
'This has more than one negative consequence. Not only are offenders not being properly punished, they also have no chance of receiving proper rehabilitation which undoubtedly leads to higher re offending rates and more crime.'
While Labour ministers have trumpeted the fall in overall crime in the UK in recent years, the EU report shows that in reality Britain has lagged behind a much faster fall in other countries. It scored particularly badly in certain categories of crime.
Some 3.3 per cent of UK adults reported being burgled in the last year - tallying with Home Office figures showing around 733,000 burglaries at 25million households.
That is the highest level anywhere in Europe - against an average of 1.7 per cent - and is around double the rate in France and three times worse than Germany. The UK and Finland were also the only two countries where repeat surveys show a worsening burglary problem.
Britain also tops the league for car theft, with almost two per cent of owners hit in the past year, well over double the EU average.
The UK has the worst figure for 'assaults and threats' at 5.8 per cent, and is well above the EU average for pickpocketing and 'contact crimes' including robbery and sexual assaults.
The only glimmer of good news is that Britons have an 'extremely low chance' of being asked to pay bribes compared with other EU member states.
Mr Davis said: 'Ten years of Government failure have left the public more at risk from both property crime and violent crime than any other comparable country in Europe.'
LibDem spokesman Nick Clegg said Britain was the 'sick man of Europe' on crime, adding: 'The Government should ask itself why the prisons are at bursting point and yet the level of several crimes are still higher than elsewhere in the EU.'
Home Office Minister Tony McNulty dismissed the findings as 'three years out of date' and questioned the surveys 'quality and comparisons'.
He said it failed to take account of recent crime reduction measures and substantial falls in burglary since 1997.
This Is London Readers Comments:
We are leading the way in Europe. We have more crime and more criminals than any comparable country and the criminals have never had it so good. This government has helped to bring more criminals out of poverty than any other country as their income, in real terms, has increased year on year.
Sorry, just trying to imagine how Tony will spin his way out of this one.
- Dan, Manchester
Anyone who has spent more than five minutes on mainland Europe would know that Britain is a more violent, crime-ridden and anti-social place than almost anywhere to be found there.
It's just the Government won't say so!
- Steve R, London, UK
Things might improve if we were given a properly manned and funded Police Service which was not under political control. Forget about the recorded crime figures these do not include illegal drug supplying and drug taking offences or counterfeit currency offences which are only recorded when arrests are made for such. Then ask yourselves about the level of crime in this country whilst considering the growth in offences involving firearms - the growth in terrorism - and the almost daily allegations involving sedition/discrimination which are carried by the media and not investigated. I am afraid crime is almost in free fall.
- Robert, Hull, East Yorks.,
The reason is very simple. The crims know that there is little chance of them getting caught and even if they are they will most likely be sent on their way with a slap on the wrist and a few hours community service. They may even get an ASBO which will give them more street cred.
Of course if you don't pay your TV licence, refuse to pay the increase in your massive council tax bill, put the wrong rubbish in the wrong bin or stray into a bus lane then the full force of the law is brought down on your shoulders.
- Marc, Hatfield, UK
What lies will we hear at the dispatch box about this one?
- Bernard Lawson, London
Start by practicing proactive policing - get 'em back on the street instead of looking at video after the event.
Enact "castle doctrine" legislation so the public knows they can defend themselves without fear of reprisal.
Zero tolerance prosecution like Giuliani did in New York - do not ignore the minor offences instead start with them, let it be seen that anti-social behaviour is a dead end.
- Stan, Expat
Art Hostage comments:
No surprise to see both Ireland and Britain being the most crime ridden in Europe.
For the last two years Police have been investigating crime without the help of informants.
We now see the results of ability, competence and due diligence Police have when they are forced to work on their own.
This disgusting title is a direct result of the manner in which Informants are currently treated.
A 90% fall in intelligence gathering as well as a 95% fall in the numbers of registered informants is the cause of this outrageous dis-honourable title.
The saying "if you pay peanuts, you get Monkey's" comes to mind.
There is a logjam of vital intelligence just waiting to be acted upon, this is for sale as with other commodities.
As soon as Law Enforcement is prepared to pay for intelligence the sooner the crime figures will come down.
Until then it is a criminal free for all.
Finally, Law Enforcement have become so desperate for intelligence they are now trying desperately to extract intelligence from convicted criminals.
Police are visiting prisoners in prison, offering better conditions if convicted criminals inform on criminals on the outside.
This is a last ditch attempt to try and gain some intelligence on criminality on the cheap.
When this proves to be a failure then perhaps Law Enforcement will enter the Capitalist marketplace and purchase intelligence.
Britain is also the European capital of Avarice and is Europe's most vacuous society so it is of no surprise that intelligence on criminality will only be sold to Police, rather than given out of some kind of civic public duty.
Even law abiding honest British citizens, who would normally give information to Police if ever they came into possession of it, require a fee before they will even consider passing information to Police.
The "Loads of money" culture means "Charity's fine, subscribe to mine"