BBC Views Online, On This Day, December 16th, 1969: MPs vote to abolish hanging

BBC Views Online, On This Day, December 16th, 1969: MPs vote to abolish hanging: Much is made of the reasons why hanging was abolished, including then Home Secretary James Callaghan’s argument in favour of abolition that “figures show that the murder rate is not soaring as a result of the abolition of capital punishment but remains remarkably stable”. Sadly, the In Context panel, whilst finding room to explore varous subsequent issues, omits to explore the increase in murderous violence in the years since abolition.

Like so many other issues where the BBC is out of step with the will of the British people, capital punishment is almost completely off the radar as far as the BBC is concerned, even though survey after survey has established that the public are in favour of the principle of capital punishment by a large majority – the only catch being the state’s well demonstrated propensity to hang the wrong person from time to time – though that is surely an argument for life in prison to mean life (rather than 12-14 years of sheltered accommodation with all mod cons, as it were), another issue off the agenda at the BBC.

While we’re on the subject, the picture caption looks like yet another case of BBC sloppiness – it reads:

Angry exchanges outside the Commons as abolitionist Lord Soper tackles a retentionist clergyman

– but the clergyman on the left in the picture looks remarkably like Lord Soper, the well known Methodist minister, socialist and pacifist, whereas the young chap with the Deer Stalker hat on the right doesn’t appear to be a man of the cloth at all. Correct me if I’m wrong, but could it be that the BBC have assumed that the chap with the Deer Stalker is a lord (by dint of his garb) arguing with an unknown clergyman (by dint of his garb), rather than the truth, that the clergyman is Lord Soper? Doh!

Still on the subject of On This Day, on the same day, Queen opens ‘tube’ link to Heathrow, from 1977, is happily illustrated with a picture of a modern Tube train – what appears to this non-trainspotter, to be a Central or Northern Line train from the last ten years or so, rather than a Piccadilly Line train from 30 years ago. I suppose it would have been too much effort to use a screen grab from the corresponding footage of Her Majesty in 1977.

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44 Responses to BBC Views Online, On This Day, December 16th, 1969: MPs vote to abolish hanging

  1. Steve Edwards says:

    Indeed. The BBC made much of the EU’s Abolition of Capital Punishment Day…

    http://powercut.blogspot.com/2007/10/how-very-very-dare-they.html

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  2. Anonymous says:

    Much is made of the reasons why hanging was abolished, including then Home Secretary James Callaghan’s argument in favour of abolition that “figures show that the murder rate is not soaring as a result of the abolition of capital punishment but remains remarkably stable”. Sadly, the In Context panel, whilst finding room to explore varous subsequent issues, omits to explore the increase in murderous violence in the years since abolition.

    Too true – 766 homicides recorded in 2005/6 and 755 in 2006/7 in England and Wales:

    Click to access hosb1107.pdf

    Strange how al-Beeb doesn’t want to highlight these figures isn’t it?

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  3. Anonymous says:

    The old vicar just had to be a “retentionist”. The young guy just had to be an abolitionist.

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  4. PeterUK says:

    Wasn’t there a Labour MP who had a relative up on a capital offence at this time?There was always a rumour that this was the real reason.

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  5. MisterMinit says:

    “Too true – 766 homicides recorded in 2005/6 and 755 in 2006/7 in England and Wales”

    What were the figures for 1969 – 2005?

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  6. PeterUK says:

    In 1969,there were very few “Joy Stabbings” little gun crime,certainly there were no machinegunnings on the streets.

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  7. MattLondon says:

    Anonymous:
    The old vicar just had to be a “retentionist”. The young guy just had to be an abolitionist.
    Anonymous | 18.12.07 – 9:18 pm | #

    Arrrgghh! You are as bad as the Beeb! He’s NOT a f*****g “vicar” – he’s (well, was) a Methodist f*****g Minister.

    Repeat to yourself ten times “people who wear clerical collars don’t necessarily hold the office of vicar” – and then look up “vicar” in a decent dictionary.

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  8. MisterMinit says:

    “In 1969,there were very few “Joy Stabbings” little gun crime,certainly there were no machinegunnings on the streets.”

    And the source for that information? This question goes to Andrew as well: what studies have been done that concluded that the end of the death penalty has lead to a rise in violent crime?

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  9. PeterUK says:

    MisterMinit,
    I was there you pillock.There were rough areas,but there weren’t any “no go areas”.
    Do your own homework kid.

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  10. Andrew says:

    MisterMinit, I have made no such claim – I merely point out the failure of the BBC to explore that issue ‘in context’ given the arguments set forth in Views Online’s article.

    That said, I’m pretty confident that violent crime in Britain is more violent and more widespread than it was in the days of capital punishment – and that a great many of those who indulge in the sort of casual, thoughtless thuggery that results all too often in murder on our streets and in our homes would be given pause for thought if one or two of their number swung for their crimes each month or two – though as I have said, my own preference, given the state’s well demonstrated propensity for ‘getting the wrong (wo)man’ from time to time, inclines me to believing that life should mean life, in prisons without gyms, snooker tables or in cell television.

    Perhaps you’d care to comment on the ‘clergyman caption’ or the tube train pic. while you’re here too.

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  11. PeterUK says:

    The problem is,nobody under a certain age can remember what Britain was like.There was no vast drug problem in the 50s and 60s.Whilst there was gang fights there was no casual murder of strangers for trivial sleights.There wasn’t the easy option of murdering the victims of robbery and burglary to escape.Little children did not get gunned down on their bicycles.
    It is shameful that the liberals will not acknowledge what an utter shit hole their fantasies have made Britain into.

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  12. Reg Hammer says:

    I despise Al Beeb in all it’s forms, I despise lefties, but I also despise capital punishment.

    Does anyone seriously believe that with news mangling, pro terrorist organizations such as the Beeb in control of the populations mindset, we’re going to see REAL murderers swing from the end of the rope, and a sudden realisation among such murderers, that this could be their fortune?

    The only people we will see at the end of these ropes – if our beloved media and government remain in control – are white working class men.

    Icidentally, Ian Brady and Moira Hindley were on the rampage while hanging was en vogue. Didn’t stop them did it?

    And as most of our ‘multicultural’ gangs and terrorist groups know that they will be forever excused for their crimes in Britain, what purpose could capital punishment possibly serve except to put an even greater fear among those who are outside of both the privileged class and minority status??

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  13. Cockney says:

    Personally I think that the case for capital punishment is most strengthened by developments in crime fighting that lessen the changes of a wrongful conviction, be it DNA testing or CCTV enhancement, but strangely nobody ever seems to make this point in all the media coverage of these advancements – all you get is the usual Littlejohn-esque clowns ranting on incoherently.

    I suspect though that the uncivilised element of it wouldn’t be the bumping off of child/police murderers itself but that there would be a horrific media driven ballyhoo around any execution. The US style last meal/look around the chamber/last second appeal/victim’s family interview/idiots waving placards outside stuff is truly degrading and it’d be far worse here – there’s nothing Brits seem to like more these days than a good demo and/or some shlock horror overdramatised crap (think Maddy McCann) presented in the mind numbingly moronic style which the BBC theoretically exists to be the antithesis of – oh well.

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  14. Anonymous says:

    The best argument against capital punishment is the large number of miscarriages of justice as a result of media witchhunts – of which the BBC is the major component.

    I doubt beeboids would cite that as an argument though…

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  15. Reg Hammer says:

    Cockney:

    You have a point with DNA evidence, but I’m glad you made the second point – which I would regard – as the overwhelming heart of the matter in any death sentence trial.

    Imagine if you will a muslim up on charges of murder. The death sentence looms. Cue a plethora of BBC documentaries, Panaroma and newsnight specials on how wrong DNA testing is, how corrupt the police are, how innocent all muslims are. “Rough Justice” the TV series being exhumed for a special one off. Thousands of hours worth of TV, millions of telly tax payers money all being pumped into what will become the new BBC remit of ensuring no-one of ethnic status ever receives the death penalty.

    Notwithstanding the fact that you can’t preach about somebody elses lack of humanity, when you don’t even have your own. Which would become yet another excuse for our Islamic friends to comit murder and be excused by the treacherous pigs that inhabit Broadcasting house.

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  16. Heron says:

    For what it’s worth, I am against capital punishment. Not because I don’t believe that brutal murderers and serial rapists don’t deserve being put to death – I do. But because I believe that the execution of one innocent man is worse than the eventual release of one hundred guilty ones. Until our justice system is infallible – and (especially) with such an irresponsible press, how unrealistic is that – I feel capital punishment is not an option.

    However, there are many good arguments in favour of capital punishment. Despite the moronic bleatings of MisterMinit, it is clear, even without statistics, that the current status quo is doing little to stem the constant flow of knife and gun crime, or of drug and gang-related violence. Also, with the current terrorist threat, we have people willing to kill potentially hundreds of people in one go. Capital punishment would surely act as a better deterrent in the first instance, and as better protection for the public in the second.

    The great problem is that we hear plenty of my first paragraph, but never so much as a word of my second paragraph from the BBC. There is no good reason for this – the public is statistically in favour of capital punishment. Yet the BBC refuses, ever, to give us the balanced argument that it is obliged to give. Just as it never gives us a balanced argument on the advantages and disadvantages of the European Union – here, too, there is majority of the population who have at the very least grave misgivings about the EU. I would like to know from the BBC – maybe John Reith or MisterMinit can help – why the public are being totally disregarded by the BBC here. Those who pay their licence fee are being let down in a big way, and it stinks.

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  17. Bluebirds Over says:

    The problem with DNA-type evidence is it often doesn’t help much with random, motiveless crime. That’s the type we see more and more. Most murders are solved (as we see on endless TV shows) because the victim was connected to the perp. It’s hard to begin to find the guilty if you don’t know even why they did it. As has been demonstrated by the killing of the boy on his bike in Liverpool • the criminal apparently protected by a frightened community or anti-society mindset among those who know who did it • guns really help random murders.

    Capital punishment is wrong (state murder as revenge, to be blunt) but a minimal cell on a rocky outcrop on a island in the Atlantic with food helicoptered in from time to time seems entirely acceptable as a place for the gulty to go, if they can be found. No mod cons and certainly no electricity. I’d say the same for terrorists with the exception that the waters round their rockier island are mined, only to be airlifted out on completion of their sentence to be sent to another country. After all, they won’t have wanted to stop trying to destroy ordinary people and our society, will they?

    So this is just my opinion • others will see it differently, though we are all agreed our society can’t go on being threatened and terrorised and living in fear of the under-educated despicable and fanatical who carry bombs, guns and knives because they have nothing else to do with their state-gifted money. Can’t work, can’t be arsed, but can be given money to be violent.

    But then where are the Beeb in this? What is our state broadcaster and tax-eater saying? Well, we know • and they do too, as they stroke themselves while not listening to the views of the people who pay their wages. The inept fools who make up the BBC’s hordes of left-leaning, social-engineering, English-hating, anti-freedom, pro-MMGW clowns can retreat to their silly, discredited ideals and justify their lack of care for our nation among themselves. Why? because they have the answers and we must learn to agree…

    You are being murdered? Be more socialist and accept new “initiatives” and loss of personal freedom.

    You are being terrorised? Be more Muslim, more anti-American

    You are being ill-served by your state broadcaster? Pay more taxes and watch dumbly.

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  18. Richard says:

    Andrew – your posts are getting increasingly desperate.

    The caption reads:

    “Angry exchanges outside the Commons as abolitionist Lord Soper tackles a retentionist clergyman”

    So, looking at the picture, on the left we see a chap pointing his finger at another man. This must be Lord Soper, because he is described in the caption as tackling a retentionist clergyman.

    The caption has told us therefore that the chap on the right is the “retentionist clergyman”. The more informed among us, will also know how to interpret the sash he’s wearing across his chest.

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  19. Mike Davies says:

    Don’t forget the impact of improving standards of emergency medical care over the last few decades.

    For example from the BMJ

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  20. PeterUK says:

    It wasn’t simply the abolition of the death penalty,most of the damage was done because there was no alternative.As per all liberal objectives,abolition was one sided.Gradually the liberals undermined any form of punishment,it is now a toss of a coin whether it is easier for a criminal to use extreme violence or murder in the perpetration of such as burglary and robbery.
    Violent criminals are released onto the streets,many are repeat offenders.A large amount of crime is committed by those who are already on probation or under some kind of supervision order.
    The banning of handguns was a perfect example of liberal lunacy,now only those who intend to use then carry guns.
    Time to stop saying what we are not prepared to do and state categorically what we are prepared to do,because someone out there is quite prepared to kill us.

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  21. I would be careful about citing DNA evidence as a means of determining guilt or innocence. The DNA samples have to have full traceability all the way back from the scene of crime and victim to the accused. There are plenty of ways in which such evidence could be tampered with (the police wouldn’t do that – Mr Kiszko) or simply misallocated by incompetence of which there’s plenty for everybody in the public services.

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  22. Anonymous says:

    PeterUK 19.12.07 – 12:42 am:

    It is shameful that the liberals will not acknowledge what an utter shit hole their fantasies have made Britain into.

    FFS get real Peter – it’s the destruction of Britain that the bastards sought and have all but achieved.

    I remember the sixties and seventies – the days when visiting American film stars used to gush as to just how lovely it was to be able to walk the streets of London at night without fear of being robbed. Not any more. It’s now what Londoners say about New York.

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  23. Cockney says:

    “It is shameful that the liberals will not acknowledge what an utter shit hole their fantasies have made Britain into.”

    absolute toss on toast. there’s a lot wrong with britain but there’s a lot great about it as well. if you can’t have a fantastic life here in 2007 then you need to work harder, move house or get off your miserable ars*, stop whingeing, get out and do stuff. and i’d love to know where this robbery epidemic in london is, cos unless you’re a young black male on an estate its as safe as its ever been and is the best place in the world to live.

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  24. Ali P says:

    The BBC’s position on capital punishment is well known: John Humphreys (2004) –

    “Do we want to return to capital punishment or to see homosexuals persecuted? No. That is a broadly liberal position. And that’s what the nation is. I bloody well hope the BBC is broadly liberal.”

    I too deplore capital punishment. But I deplore too the fact that the BBC feels the need to have a position on it.

    Ali P

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  25. Robin says:

    The number of recorded murders per year in the UK actually doubled between 1967 and 2002. For details, see the report here:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/4348238.stm

    But cause and effect are difficult to discern as this stimulating (leftist)paper makes clear. It would be a huge leap to say that murder has definitely risen because of the abolition of a death penalty deterrent. Among the fascinating points to emerge among the left-wing cant are that gun crimes are more prevalent in the most affluent areas, and that murder rates for most groups in the population are static or falling. The exception is among men under 35. The report is well worth a read, even its conclusion that murders are fuelled mostly by economic deprivation seems somewhat political.

    As a point of information about an earlier posting Moors Murderers Myra Hindley and Ian Brady committed their ghastly (and to this day highly unusual) crimes both before and after the effective abolition of the death penalty (between 1963 and 1965); no-one was hanged in Britain after the election of the Wilson government in October, 1964, although legislation formalising the position was not passed until 1967 (the Silverman Act). The last hangings took place in August of 1964, when two men were hanged simultaneously for the murder of the same man.

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  26. PeterUK says:

    Anonymous,
    This I know,but the blame must be laid at the feet of the liberal left elite,they are the enemy.
    These people won because they used the moral argument,as typified by the BBC.Opponents were not only held to be in error but also wicked for being so.
    Try calling a LL a racist and watch them squirm.

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  27. PeterUK says:

    Sorry Cockney you are talking out of your anal orifice,don’t you understand these “estates” are a new creation,they were not there.
    I see your voice is that of the metropolitan elite,not everyone lives in London.
    Hers betting you never get out of your car whilst driving through,or more probably round these “estates”.
    As for the rest of your ignorant and patronising gabble,do shove it there’s a good chap.

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  28. Stuck-Record says:

    Cockney | 19.12.07 – 4:16 pm | #
    “london is, cos unless you’re a young black male on an estate its as safe as its ever been and is the best place in the world to live.”

    HaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHa!!!!

    Londoner (me), wipes tear from eye…

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  29. Reg Hammer says:

    Cockney, except for the past two years I have lived in London all my life. The one you speak of doesn’t sound quite the same as my experience.

    Perhaps you missed all the marauding chavs, the groups of housing association kids terrorising private estates and all the wonderful variations of multi-culturalism that can be seen standing outside the pavement of KFC selling pirated DVDs, hawking young kids on tube trains in the name of begging or driving wrecklessly around in uninsured cars with no driving licences. All while plod busies himself with a serious offence of racial name-calling at the local primary school.

    Seriously, you need to get out of Islington a little more often.

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  30. MisterMinit says:

    Andrew: “MisterMinit, I have made no such claim – I merely point out the failure of the BBC to explore that issue ‘in context’ given the arguments set forth in Views Online’s article.”

    Ok, so what should this context include? If there is any sort of academic consensus that suggests that this particular law change triggered an increase in murder?

    If you can show that there is, then the context should discuss that. If not, I cannot see what place any “increase in murderous violence” (if indeed there has been one) would have.

    Andrew: “Perhaps you’d care to comment on the ‘clergyman caption’ or the tube train pic. while you’re here too.”

    Sure. Even if we give the author the benfit of the doubt and assume that he/she knew that the other man in the picture was a clergyman, this caption is entirely misleading and unquestionably should not be there.

    As for the tube picture, a screen grap would have been much better (and I’m pretty sure it is a Central Line train).

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  31. MisterMinit says:

    Heron: “Despite the moronic bleatings of MisterMinit…”

    Feel free to elaborate.

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  32. PeterUK says:

    In all probability Mockney doesn’t live in London,nobody who lives there would ever glibly say “move house”.House prices in London are one of the delights that prevent the English from living in their capital.

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  33. Andrew says:

    PeterUK, and prevent the British from living in their capital too!

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  34. PeterUK says:

    Having seen “Soapy Joe in the flesh I would say that the picture was of him.This is an older “Soapy” by the looks of it.

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  35. Ben says:

    http://www.economist.com/world/na/displaystory.cfm?story_id=9719806

    “Although DNA testing has yet to show that an innocent American has been executed, it has proved beyond question that miscarriages of justice occur. Widely reported exonerations have alerted the public to the uncomfortable fact that juries are sometimes biased, that the police sometimes lie and that snitches often do.

    But what if executions save lives by deterring potential murderers? That would “greatly unsettle moral objections to the death penalty”, argue Cass Sunstein and Adrian Vermeule, two law professors. Abolitionists say there is no proof that capital punishment deters. Death-penalty enthusiasts say several studies suggest it does.

    A crude way of trying to settle which camp is correct is to compare murder rates in jurisdictions with and without capital punishment. This offers no support for the notion of deterrence. In 2005 there were 46% more murders per head in states with the death penalty than in those without it, and that gap has widened since 1990. The murder rate in the United States as a whole, moreover, is far higher than in western Europe, where capital punishment is a thing of the past.”

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  36. Robin says:

    The BBC’s reluctance to discuss the death penalty falls into similar territory as its disdain for arguments to withdraw from the EU (supported by at least 30% of Britons in polls and often as much as 50%), and is in sharp contrast to its evergreen desire to promote stories which advocate republicanism or are anti-morarchist (supported by only about 20% in polls).

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  37. Susan says:

    Ben: The US is far more “diverse” than Western Europe. Please check a state statistics site: those states that are largely made up of descendants of Northern/Central Europeans have extremely low murder and crime rates. i.e. That would be New England and most Midwestern states except Illinois. Differentials in culture(s), not the death penalty, accounts for higher US murder rates in the “diverse” states. However I’ve noticed that as Western Europe is getting more “diverse”, your murder rates seem to be catching up with ours.

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  38. Verity says:

    Reg Hammer, notes: “Icidentally, Ian Brady and Moira Hindley were on the rampage while hanging was en vogue. Didn’t stop them did it?”

    (It was Myra Hindley. Not Moira.) Two freaks who found each other and would have acted out their fantasies whatever. Most murders aren’t of this level of the bizarre.

    There is no excuse for not re-instating the death penalty given that we now have DNA evidence. Where the evidence is insecure, of course, no one should be put to death; but where it is, it’s cheaper to put them down than keep them in prison for no purpose given that they’re never going to get out.

    And it serves as a useful reminder.

    I would suggest switching to lethal injection as it seems less horrific to the public who would have to vote for a return of capital punishment. If there was ever a referendum. Which there will not be because the government – of any party – and the EU nomenklatura are now the boss of everyone in Britain, not their servants.

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  39. Verity says:

    “In 2005 there were 46% more murders per head in states with the death penalty than in those without it,”.

    No, Ben, this is a dishonest argument and you are assuming a level of naiveté on the part of British readers.

    Define “murders” in this context please and who chose this word? Did you mean “killings”, for example and got confused between the two words?

    If killings, especially in states that have the death penalty (and the right to bear arms), I think you will find that most of your notional “murders” were killings in self-defence and that the “murdered” were shot while in commission of a crime.

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  40. LURKINGBLACKHAT says:

    Ben

    Basically the murder rate has doubled since 1965. Interesting in the years 1900 to the mid 60’s the murder rate was in steady decline.

    Finding the info is not hard. For me finding time to post is hard.

    2 sets of Home Office Stats that overlap below. Interestingly the Home office stats from the two sources do not completely line up.

    Also please note 2003 the rate was uped by the prolific Dr Shipman.

    Source 1 1900 to 1997

    Click to access rp99-111.pdf

    Year and homicide per million in England and Wales

    1900 9.6
    1910 8.1
    1920 8.3
    1930 7.5
    1940 ..
    1950 7.9
    1955 6.3
    1960 6.2
    1965 6.8
    1970 8.1
    1975 10.3
    1980 12.5
    1985 12.5
    1990 13.1
    1995 14.5
    1997 14.1

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  41. LURKINGBLACKHAT says:

    continued ….

    Source 2 1968 to 2005

    Click to access hosb0206.pdf

    Year and homicide per million in England and Wales

    1968 7.4
    1969 6.8
    1970 7.0
    1971 8.3
    1972 8.3
    1973 8.0
    1974 10.7
    1975 9.0
    1976 9.9
    1977 8.5
    1978 9.6
    1979 11.1
    1980 11.1
    1981 10.1
    1982 11.2
    1983 9.7
    1984 10.8
    1985 10.7
    1986 11.2
    1987 11.9
    1988 10.9
    1989 10.3
    1990 10.9
    1991 12.3
    1992 11.4
    1993 11.1
    1994 12.4
    1995 13.0
    1996 11.4
    1997 11.9
    1997/98 11.8
    1998/99 12.5
    1999/00 13.0
    2000/01 14.9
    2001/02 15.4
    2002/03 18.2
    2003/04 15.0
    2004/05 15.5

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  42. Ben says:

    You’ll notice that what I posted was all a quote • some seem to think I was stating it. Anyway, let’s have a look LURKINGINBLACKHAT.

    While I’m pretty open-minded, I don’t generally like to take such raw data at face value, since there are often so many variables that need to be taken into account.

    I was unable to find any analysis of UK homicide rates specifically (surprisingly), but they do bear a distinct resemblance to the stats available for Australia. So I’m using a report from the Australian Institute of Criminology, “Violent Crime in Australia: Interpreting the Trends” (1996: http://www.aic.gov.au/publications/tandi/ti61.pdf). Not ideal as it’s only until 1991, but not bad IMO •

    “In terms of international comparisons, Australia is generally observed to have a moderate level of interpersonal violence based on its homicide rate. Based on the 1991 rates, Australia falls between Iceland (1.9) and Canada (2.1), while the United States had a much higher rate (9.1) and England and Wales a much lower one (0.5) (World Health Organization 1992). (Note that rates are expressed as number of homicides per 100 000 population).”

    As you pointed out, the rate in the UK tailed off until the mid/late 50’s and then increased substantially (though comparatively even in 1991 it wasn’t particularly high). But we don’t seem to be alone in experiencing this it seems…

    “In terms of long-term trends in homicide, the most common pattern in western countries such as the US, and the one observed in Australia, is of decreasing rates of homicide from the late 19th century until the 1940s and 1950s and then an upswing from mid-century (Figure 1).”

    However…

    “the increase that did occur between the 1951-70 period and the 1971-88 period is most likely explained by the changing demography of the Australian population. The proportion of the population accounted for by young males was at an historically low ebb during the middle part of the century and the resurgence in the strength of this sector is the most conservative explanation for the observed change in the homicide rate…

    …the point to establish here is that analysis of the homicide rate, the most reliable indicator of violence in the community, provides no support for the belief that there has been a significant rise in the real level of violence over the last 20 years.”

    So in conclusion, if the UK is anything like Australia, I don’t think it’s particularly fair to put the rise in homicide down to the abolition of the death penalty • at least it’s not as clear-cut as the data would indicate and there’s other potential reasons for the correlation.

    It is interesting to note that Scotland has a far higher homicide rate than England and Wales and yet has a far smaller proportion of ethnic minorities – what I assume Susan was referring to with her comments on ‘diversity’.

    Verity, as the article I posted previously states, it quite often isn’t cheaper :-
    “It is now far more expensive to execute someone than to jail him for life; in North Carolina, for instance, each capital case costs $2m more. Ordinary inmates need only to be fed and guarded. Those on death row must have lawyers arguing expensively about their fate, sometimes for a decade or more”

    How good is DNA evidence at proving guilt and making it clear-cut in a murder case? Very few I’d have thought, and even this method isn’t infallible.

    “Since 1973, 124 Americans have been released from death row because of doubts about their guilt; and of the 7,662 sentenced to death between 1973 and 2005, 2,190 had their sentence or conviction overturned.”

    That’s going to be a lot of money, especially if this is going to be on top of being locked up for the rest of their life.

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  43. Verity says:

    Verity, as the article I posted previously states, it quite often isn’t cheaper :-

    Cost isn’t everything. Flea control is. These people are predators and natural justice demands that they be removed. The death penalty also serves as a useful aide-memoire.

    Once these people are lethal-injected, aspirant murderers do see that their killing career is not a long, empty highway.

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  44. Susan says:

    It is interesting to note that Scotland has a far higher homicide rate than England and Wales and yet has a far smaller proportion of ethnic minorities – what I assume Susan was referring to with her comments on ‘diversity’.

    Perhaps the Scottish culture is a more violent one to begin with? In the US the ethnic group with the lowest rates of violent crime of all are East Asians. So no the idea of “diversity” doesn’t always correlate with “ethnic minority.” Hawaii is majority East Asian, and it has a similarly low crime rate as do the Dakotas, Minnesota or Vermont (which are all above 90 percent “European-American”.) OTOH, many areas of the US that have had a recent huge influx of Mexican immigrants have as high a murder rate as Mexico — which has the sixth highest murder rate in the world. My point is you can’t make any judgements about US crime rates without taking into account all the different cultures that reside within it and the huge differential in crime rates from state to state. States that don’t have the death penalty may think they don’t need it because their crime rates are so low. States with higher crime rates may think they DO need it. Here in California we do have the death penalty (and the nation’s ninth highest murder rate) but it takes around 20 or 25 years to make it through the appeals process so it doesn’t really act as a deterrent. Nevertheless I do celebrate the odd year or two when a completely depraved mass murderer like Tookie Williams (for whom the Austrians named a football stadium in reverence) takes the needle.

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