The rise in hate crime in 2017-18: A genuine increase or just poor data?

by Matthew Williams

In 2017 I was approached to take part in a BBC One Panorama documentary on the rise of hate crime following the Brexit vote.  The BBC wanted an expert on the topic to provide the ‘hard science’ on hate crime figures.  Ahead of the crew travelling to Cardiff for filming, I spent two weeks delving into the most recent police and Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) figures (PDF). What I found was a complex picture that wasn’t going to be easy to explain in a sound-bite. Continue reading

Improving eyewitness testimony

by Laura Mickes and Travis Seale-Carlisle

Crime rates across the UK are on the rise with knife and acid attacks featured prominently and regularly in the news. Eyewitnesses can provide valuable evidence, but the way that evidence is collected and used needs much improvement. Psychology has had a lot to say about memory in general and the pitfalls of memory as an accurate recording of past experiences. Fortunately, the solutions are simple and inexpensive.

Eyewitnesses to crimes are often asked to try to identify the perpetrator out of an identity parade. They do not have to pick anyone, but if they did, the person is either a stooge (known innocents) or the suspect. If the suspect is picked, then that provides evidence against that person.

It’s good news if that person is guilty. But it’s bad news if that person is innocent. Continue reading

Crime time: how a Festival event inspired my teaching

Ruth Shaw 150Ruth Shaw is Curriculum Leader for Social Sciences at Nelson and Colne College, where she teaches A-level Sociology.

In November 2016 she attended a crime-themed event, hosted by OCR as part of the ESRC’s Festival of Social Science. The event gave her some real-world inspiration for teaching her students

As a teacher of sociology, this event was a rare and refreshing opportunity to think about how research into crime spans across a range of social science subjects – it was great to discuss ideas that spanned across geography, law, citizenship, psychology and sociology – and as you can probably tell from what I go on to write next, there was lots packed into a day! Continue reading