11). The British Crime Survey (BCS) estimated 2,708,000 violent incidents occurred against adults in England and Wales (Dodd et al 2004, p. 67), which, overall, is a decrease of 36% in crime since 1995 (p. 67). However, in 2004 BCS report also noted that violent crime has stabilized (p. 67)). The police recorded 1,109,017 violent incidents, which is a 12% increase since 2002/2003, partly attributed to the implementation of the NCRS (p. 67), increases in the reporting of crime by the general public, increases in police activity, and improvements in recording crime (p. 69)
For more than a quarter of a century, from 1969 to 1996, burglary and theft accounted consistently for about half of all recordable offences in England and Wales. The peak was reached in 1992 when they made up 52 percent of recorded crime. By 2004-5 the four types of theft accounted collectively 30% of all crime, according to British Crime Survey report (Home Office 2007).
During the time period under study, there was a steady increase in robberies with two peaks followed by sharp declines occurring in 1996 and 2001-02, the latter of which may be partly attributed to the implantation of the NCRS. Ninety percent of the robberies were of personal property, while the balance was robberies of businesses (Dodd et al., 2004, p. 79). The BCS also recorded increases in the robbery rates between 1981 and its 2003-04 interviews, with a peak in 1999. Following this peak, rates declined significantly (-32%). In the Crime in England and Wales 2003-04 report, the conclusion was that for this time period, robbery numbers were too low to provide reliable estimates, although the report did note that there was a general decline for the last decade (p. 79).
One of the measures most frequently used by the police and evaluators is the clear-up rate. However, the meaning of 'clear-up' is far from clear. The standard conception of the clear-up rate is the proportion of offences recorded by the police that are 'detected' each year. For most crimes this 'rate' or, rather, the proportion of known offences detected, has been falling steadily over the past few decades.
Variations in Clear-Up Rates
If the clear-up rate is, however, to be used as a gauge of effectiveness, some consideration needs to be given to the number of incidents recorded, their seriousness and the number of officers employed over time. Thus it may be that the number of crimes cleared up per officer may increase at a time when the overall clear-up rate is declining. However, the main difficulty in using clear-up rates as a measure of effectives is that the term 'clear-up' can cover a number of processes and variations, including: 1) if a person has been charged, summonsed or cautioned for the offence; 2) if the offence has been admitted and has been or could be taken into consideration by the court; and 3) if there is sufficient evidence to charge a person but the case is not proceeded with (Bottomley and Coleman 1995). Thus crime can in fact be 'cleared up' without any direct police 'detection' work being undertaken, and