Criminal justice spending, staffing and populations

Matt Ford
Friday, 29 December 2017

This UK Justice Policy Review Focus looks at trends in key data about the criminal justice systems in each jurisdiction of the UK. It covers the main criminal justice institutions of the police, courts, probation and prison. The aim is to provide reliable, accessible data on trends in areas such as criminal justice spending, staffing, and the populations subject to criminal justice sanctions.

It will be useful to policy makers, practitioners, researchers and anyone else with an interest in the criminal justice system in the UK.

How to understand the data

The data we provide in this briefing gives a rough sense of the overall ‘size’ of the criminal justice system, in terms of funding, workforce and people processed by criminal justice institutions. Trends in these areas will be affected by a variety of complex interrelated factors, both within the criminal justice system and without.

For instance, the number of people prosecuted in the courts will in part depend on the number of police officers available to arrest people in the first place, which in turn will depend on police budgets. On the other hand, the number of people arrested will depend, amongst other things, on demographic factors such as the size of the specific populations targeted by the police.

Where possible we present data covering the period from 2005-2006 to 2015-2016 to get a meaningful understanding of current trends. The financial year 2015-2016 is the most recent year for which comparable data for each jurisdiction is available. All data is taken from official government sources.Data tables and a full list of references are available from our website.

Get the data

Download the data used in this briefing.