An Empirical Inquiry
Chapter 2: Sources of police cases
INTRODUCTION This chapter discusses our findings on how and by whom crime is discovered and reported to the police and other law enforcement agencies; the nature of that crime by offence category; how and by whom suspects are identified; and the profile of suspects in terms of gender, age, occupation, education, employment and migrant/non-migrant status. The information was extracted from a total of 1144 completed first instance case files drawn from 13 research sites, the target number for each site being at least 50, the actual number of case files analysed in each site ranging from 53 (Site H) to 157 (Site A). The cases analysed in the study had reached the point of final disposal at varying times between 2002 and 2006. Each case file was composed of a number of folders, and although the number of folders varied from site to site, the information recorded in the files was broadly consistent across sites. Each of the files included an evidence folder which recorded matters such as who reported the crime, how the suspect was apprehended, the identity of the suspect (including matters such as age, gender, education, employment status etc.), and the offence or offences with which the suspect was charged. As explained in Chapter 1, formal charging and prosecution is not the only route open to the police once they discover or have brought to their attention a crime or potential crime. In cases involving crimes of public disorder, offences against the person, offences against property and...
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