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News Archives: Index

October 7, 2010: Probation Set For Industrial Action

October 5, 2010: Turning Prisoners Into Taxpayers

October 4, 2010: Murder Changes Now In Force

September 20, 2010: Probation Programmes Face Cuts

August 24, 2010: Victorian Poor Law Records Online

August 10, 2010: Justice Job Cuts

July 28, 2010: Prison Violence Growing

July 22, 2010: Police Numbers: Latest Figures

July 22, 2010: New Jurisdiction Rules

July 16, 2010: CCJS On Prison And Probation Spending Under Labour

July 15, 2010: Latest Statistics On Violent And Sexual Crime

July 15, 2010: Latest National Crime Figures

July 15, 2010: New Chief Prisons Inspector

July 14, 2010: Hard Times Ahead For Prisons: Anne Owers

July 14, 2010: Prison Does Not Work: Ken Clarke

July 13, 2010: Criminal Justice Reform: Sentencing and Rehabilitation

July 13, 2010: Criminal Justice Reform Priorities

July 12, 2010: What Price Public Protection, Asks Probation Chief Inspector

July 12, 2010: NOMS has failed, says Napo

July 10, 2010: IPCC To Investigate Death of Raoul Moat

July 9, 2010: Women In Prison: New Report

July 9, 2009: Unjust Deserts: Imprisonment for Public Protection

July 8, 2010: Police Search Powers Change

July 7, 2010: Make 'Legal High' Illegal, Says ACMD

July 2, 2010: Failing Children In Prison

July 2, 2010: Police Buried Under a Blizzard of Guidance: HMIC

July 1, 2010: Freedom To Change The Law?

June 30, 2010: A New Outlook On Penal Reform?

June 30, 2010: Revolving Door Of Offending Must Stop, Says Clarke

June 30, 2010: Ken Clarke: Speech on Criminal Justice Reform

June 29, 2010: No More Police Targets

June 26, 2010: Family Intervention Projects Questioned

June 25, 2010: Cutting Criminal Justice

June 24, 2010: Napo on Sex Offenders Report

June 23, 2010: Closing Courts: The Cuts Begin

June 23, 2010: Strategy To Tackle Gangs

June 15, 2010: Courts and Mentally Disordered Offenders

June 8, 2010: Working With Muslims in Prison

June 1, 2010: Your Chance To Nominate a QC

Homicide in the UK

How common is murder in the UK?

Murder is a rare crime in the UK.

Is there a difference between murder and homicide?

The term ‘homicide’ covers the offences of murder, manslaughter and infanticide. Murder and manslaughter are common law offences that have never been defined by statute (although they have been modified by statute). The offence of infanticide was created by the Infanticide Act 1922.

How does the criminal justice system respond to homicide?

Home Office figures indicate that the vast majority of murders are solved, and the those who commit the murders are brought to to justice. While unsolved cases do occasionally occur, but they are a small minority of overall homicides.

What is the Homicide Index?

The Home Office Homicide Index (HI) is the key source of official information on homicide in England and Wales. Information on all initially recorded homicides is recorded from information passed to the Home Office by the police. It contains information on the offence, the offender, the victim and the final outcome. The HI is continually updated with revised information from the police and the courts, so is an authoritative source of indormation.

How many homicides are there?

In 2008/09, 670 deaths were initially recorded as homicide, a decrease of 14 per cent on the previous year.

How does this compare with the homicide rate for our European neighbours, and the homicide rate in the U.S.A.?

Find out here.

What happens when an offence is recorded as homicide?

When the police record an offence as homicide it remains classified unless the police or courts decide later that a lesser offence, or no offence, took place.

So offences sometimes do not remain recorded as homicide?

According to Home Office figures issued in 2010, of the total of 670 offences first recorded in 2008/09, 19 were no longer recorded as homicide by 24 November 2009.

Is the homicide rate going up or down?

The 651 offences currently recorded as homicide in 2008/09 compares with 753 for 2007/08, a decrease of 14 per cent. Home figures indicate that this is the lowest number of currently recorded homicides since 1998/99 (when 642 homicides were recorded).

Are men or women most likely to be the victims of murder?

Men are more likely to be a victim of homicide than women. In 2008/09, 459 victims were male (71%) and 192 female (29%). Home Office research indicates that, proportionately, there has been a greater decrease in male victims (16%, from 549 to 459) than for female victims (6%, from 204 to 192) between 2007/08 and 2008/09.

Do victims usually know the person who murders them?

In 2008/09, 170 males (37% of all male victims) and 23 females (12% of all female victims) were killed by strangers. Over the previous five years, the proportion of female victims killed by a stranger was 19 per cent, compared with 40 per cent of male victims.

Are the figures always accurate?

While the numbers are accurate, we need to exercise care in any conclusions that we draw from our consideration of homicide statistics. The statistics are drawn from the year in which offences are recorded by the police rather than the year in which the incidents took place. An example of this cited in Home Office research is the 172 homicides attributed to Dr Harold Shipman. They homicides were committed over a substantial period of time, but following Dame Janet Smith’s inquiry, they recorded by the police during 2002/03.

Also, where several people are killed by the same principal suspect or suspects (for example, the July 2005 London bombing), the number of homicides counted is the total number of persons killed rather than the number of individual incidents.

Is the use of firearms common in homicides?

As in earlier years, the most common method of killing in 2008/09 was by a sharp instrument5 (255 homicides). Shootings accounted for 39 homicides in 2008/09, compared with 53 in 2007/08.