BBC HomeExplore the BBC
This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Find out more about page archiving.

20 October 2014
Citizen X Homepage

BBC Homepage
BBC Schools
CitizenX Home
Being a Citizen
Local Citizen
National Citizen
International Citizen
Message board
KS3 Bitesize
Schools age 11-16
World Class

Contact Us

To the Crime topic indexGet the Lowdown index


Rights & Responsibilities


Local Democracy

Community Action


Media -- coming soon

Government & Parliament

Global Community

EU, UN & Commonwealth

The Basics | More Information | Web Links
General crime statistics for England and Wales 2002

  • The total number of crimes recorded by the police in 2002 was 5.5 million. The figure is more or less stable following a period of decline.

  • A third of people said they felt teenagers hanging around on street corners was a very or fairly big problem.

  • The number of violent crimes has fallen since 1997.

  • Young men aged between 16 and 24 are most at risk from violent crime.

  • About 28% of the population is likely to be a victim of crime.

  • Crimes involving the use of guns have increased by 35%.

  • More boys commit crimes than girls.

  • Almost one in four young people admits to having committed a criminal offence.

Graph showing crime statistics in England and Wales
Why do we have laws?

Prison cell
  • Laws tell us what we MUST do and what we CANNOT do. They also tell you what your rights are.

  • The government makes laws so they apply throughout the country and they reflect the 'will of the state'

  • A law exists because a majority of the people in the country agrees with it. Why can't you walk down the street naked when you feel like it? Because a majority of people in this country don't want to look at you naked on the street!

  • Laws are compulsory. You can't choose which ones you obey and which ones you ignore. They are backed up by punishment.

  • Laws are public. Everyone knows what the rules are and laws go through a formal public process in parliament.

  • A law exists because it promotes the health or safety of everyone in society. We have seat belt laws because seat belts save a lot of lives. Most people will agree with life-saving rules even if they infringe on their personal freedoms to some extent.

  • Laws are the framework within which all citizens act and beyond which noone should go.

  • Laws protect everybody. Without the protection of law each person could be under threat from everyone else in society.

  • A law exists because it helps society to function more smoothly. Traffic lights are an example of this sort of law. Because people obey traffic lights, society works efficiently. If everyone did whatever they felt like doing at every intersection, we would have chaos. What would football be like if there were no 'laws'?

  • You are punished if you break a law but the law protects you from being punished when you haven't done anything wrong.

  • Everybody is equal under the law.

About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy