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Behaviours are criminalised through legislation or judicial decision, and this is influenced by public attitudes. Crime is widely considered to be falling but the data underpinning this trend are highly complex.

  • Verifying the impact of crime depends on consideration of changing crime patterns and the demand crime places on the criminal justice system.
  • Prison populations are increasing while crime is declining; thought in part to reflect changes to sentencing and policy.
  • Key reforms of the criminal justice system are in progress, such as the introduction of ‘payment by results’ in the probation service.

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