Discussion Forums » Topic of the Month

Topic for October 2020 - Law and Order

    • 120 posts
    October 8, 2020 10:55 AM BST

    Our topic this month for our Probably42 Groups to discuss is:

    Law and Order – Root causes, symptoms and treatment of criminal behaviour

    Note that there is a previous output on the subject of the Justice System at: http://www.probably42.net/documents/2/29/justice-system-output-from-deep-thought-group-pie-and-pint-meeting-11. This asked some questions with possible solutions embedded in them.


    •  What is the Crime Situation?

    What areas of crime are growing/reducing? What initiatives have worked? What are the demographics of crime? Is Crime out of control? (Traditional Crime, Internet Crime, Terrorism, State Crime). How are the state detection agencies organised?

    •  Causes of Crime

    The role of parents, home, school, financial situation and poverty, and upbringing

    What are the different causes/encouragements of crime? How does this vary by age?

    What is the role of Peer pressure, Coercion by others, Intimidation?

    Does society generally contribute? Does the media contribute?

    What would stop people wanting to commit crime? Is this different for different groups?

    •  Deterrents of Crime

    What are the deterrents to crime? How does this vary for Low level Crime, Serious Crime, Organised Crime?

    Are the deterrents sufficient? Have we gone soft on Crime?

    Are there modern deterrents we could make use of?

    •  Detection and avoidance of Crime

    How could we improve the detection of crime, including use of technology?

    How do we balance security against personal liberty and data protection?

    Are the police force and other state detection agencies adequate, and in sufficient numbers, for a 21st century situation? Are there things they are asking for?

    How do we get children and other demographic groups off the criminal path once they are on it?

    •  Treatment of criminal behaviour, repeat offences and rehabilitation

    Is the priority rehabilitation or punishment?

    Are there ways of dealing with/punishing initial offences without getting into the justice system?

    Do we need several elements to dealing with crime (1) actions that are likely to get the person off the criminal path (2) punishment/future deterrence (3) protecting victims and the public?

    Do punishments fit the crime? Are they sufficient? Do they contribute to deterrence or encouragement?

    What levels of action/punishment should there be? Are there alternative modern punishments or methods of control? Are there alternative losses which could punish other than loss of liberty?

    Should punishment escalate with repeat offences e.g. 3 strikes and you’re out?

    Does our punishment system reduce the likelihood of rehabilitation? How co0ld rehabilitation success be improved?

    •  The Law

    Does our legal system command respect? Is it fit for purpose?

    Is it too easy to play the system?

    Should people be able to get off on legal technicalities?

    Does it favour those with power and wealth?








    • 120 posts
    November 10, 2020 10:13 AM GMT

    Our considered document on the subject of Law and Order is now available at:


    One of the inputs that we found very useful was the Home Office Crime Prevention Strategy at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/modern-crime-prevention-strategy which was one of the better Government documents we have seen. Although written in 2016 it gives a very good understanding of the thinking and breadth of activities going on, which is very considerable and of some of the things that have worked. There doesn’t appear to be a later version, so we assume it is still the existing strategy.

    We found ourselves supportive of everything in the document, so our ideas were largely additive. We’ve picked a few of the most transformative ideas from the 20 or so we generated:

    • Put emphasis on ‘Raising the probability of detection’
    • Using technology to raise probability of detection
    • Implementing Digital Identity Cards
    • Increasing Surveillance
    • Changing the Security v Liberty balance
    • Shifting the goal posts for Cyber Threats
      • Prioritise measuring and developing empathy in early years
      • Target worst repeat offenders
      • Introduce new more imaginative non-custodial sentences
      • Establish a national work service
    • Introduce a ‘refund the cost to society’ attribute for all offences

    To understand what we are getting at with these you do need to read the document but in particular we think that ‘Changing the Security v Liberty balance’ is an area we all need to debate. Is it time to accept more surveillance to increase our security while putting in place modern safeguards to liberty rather than not allowing these things to be done in the first place? A big question!   

    This post was edited by # Probably42 at November 10, 2020 12:32 PM GMT
    • 26 posts
    November 10, 2020 3:55 PM GMT

    I've read both the considered document and the Home Office Crime Prevention Strategy and they're both eccellent documents. 

    As always, it comes down to the implementation of these ideas and strategies, so I hope that both the will and the resources are put into improving the law and order situation in the country along the lines described.