Home Office Research Findings

Between 1992 and 2008 the Home Office published around 250 “Research Fundings” – a heady mixture of sociological research, British Crime Survey data, evaluations of crime policies and the like – in a short-form that consisted of 4 – 6 pages built around summaries of:

  • Key Points
  • Methods and Methodology (where relevant)
  • Key Findings
  • Conclusions.
  • These are very student (and teacher) friendly, particularly the Key Points summaries that, by-and-large, preclude the need to actually read the rest of the findings if you’re pushed for time, have a Very Short Attention Span or just can’t be bothered.

    Although the selective trawl through the available Findings might prove both interesting and informative, depending on what you may or may not need for teaching purposes, the Archive does have a couple of potential drawbacks:

    1. Some of the very early bulletins look as if they’ve been badly-photocopied from an original document that was itself badly-copied from someone’s proto-attempt to use primitive (circa 1990) DTP software. By 1996, however, someone at the Home Office had clearly made an executive design to up their design game, buy some reasonably-decent software and generally think about their end-users. At this point things start to become much more presentable, not to say readable.

    2. The bulk of the archive covers the years 1995 – 2007 which, as you will appreciate, is starting to make the research a little dated (or historically-interesting if you prefer). Having said that, it’s not too old to be badly outdated and many of the areas covered – from published sociological research on areas like gender and crime to early evaluations of schemes that have now become established on the UK crime scene – have a certain historical relevance and attraction.

    A couple of the reports in particular caught my eye:

    Firstly, Gender differences in risk factors for offending: Farrington and Painter (2004). This drew conclusions from the  Cambridge Study in Delinquent Development, a longitudinal survey of crime and delinquency “in 411 males, mostly born in 1953. The Study began in 1961–62, when most of the boys were aged 8–9”. It is, if memory serves, still going strong…

    Secondly, Mike Sutton’s (1998) Handling stolen goods and theft: a market reduction approach. If you’re not familiar with this interesting approach to crime reduction I’ve previously written a handy outline that should bring you up to speed. I’d like to think it’s because I’m nice like that. But, on reflection, I’m probably not.

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