UK Justice Policy Review: Volume 5

Richard Garside and Matt Ford
Monday, 21 March, 2016

The fifth in an annual series by the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies, supported by The Hadley Trust, assessing year-on-year developments in criminal justice and social welfare across the UK.

Combining analysis of the main developments with key data on issues such as spending, staffing and the numbers going through the criminal justice system, UK Justice Policy Review offers an accessible overview of UK-wide developments.

This edition of UKJPR covers the final year of coalition government and the transition to the new Conservative administration.

It paints a picture of growing pressure on criminal justice agencies across England, Wales. Scotland and Northern Ireland, as they struggled to cope with five years of austerity-driven cuts. Scotland is a partial exception, where increased expenditure funded stable or rising staff numbers in the police, prison and probation services.

Looking ahead, it points to the risk for a perfect storm of growing demand and shrinking budgets engulfing the UK's criminal justice institutions by the time of the next General Election.

A rising prison population – set to top 100,000 by 2020 – and inadequate legal aid funding are just two of the threats facing the delivery of justice across the UK.

Governments in London, Edinburgh and Belfast should pursue a managed downsizing of the key criminal justice agencies to reflect shrinking budgets, this edition concludes, rather than continuing to squeeze ever greater delivery out of ever diminishing resources.

Richard Garside, the Centre's director and one of the report authors said:

'During the five years to the 2015 General Election, the criminal justice systems in England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland faced unprecedented structural change, growing demands on their resources and generally diminishing budgets.

‘The decisions made in the next five years are going to be critical to the future health of the justice systems across the United Kingdom. If the wrong decisions are made, criminal justice agencies across the UK face a perfect storm of growing demand and shrinking budgets by the time of the next General Election.'

Get the data

A full set of data and notes for the charts and tables that are presented in each volume of UK Justice Policy Review are available for download.

The data is available by clicking on the links below.

Special focus : demand on the police


Staffing and outsourcing

Criminal justice populations

Welfare and wider social circumstances