Police Homicide Performance Meltdown

Number of homicide suspects dying annually (before prosecution/conviction)

I had not meant to address this at all. I was actually looking for the latest partner homicides’ stats and stumbled across it. It seems that police performance in identifying suspects in homicide cases has taken a nosedive. Between 2008 and 2018 the number of homicides without a suspect has more than doubled (for both sexes of victim, see Figure 1, below).

Note that Figure 1 plots the number of homicides without a suspect over a three year period ending at the end of March of the year plotted. This is because the most recent ONS datasets (below) give homicide data aggregated over three year periods.  

I initially thought that this increase in the number of homicide cases with no suspect might be because the number of homicides has increased. But actually the recent increase is confined to the last few years. Figure 2 plots the total number of homicides over three year periods, hence compatible with Figure 1, and shows that, as of March 2018, the number remains below its level in 2008.

So Figure 1 would seem to indicate a rather catastrophic collapse in police detection.

For completeness, note that the definition of “suspect” in use here is as follows,

A suspect in a homicide case is defined as either: a person who has been arrested in respect of an offence initially classified as homicide and charged with homicide, including those who were subsequently convicted, or a person who is suspected by the police of having committed the offence but is known to have died or committed suicide prior to arrest or being charged.”

The number of suspects dying each year from 2007 to 2016 is plotted in the Figure which heads this post. 85% to 95% are suicides. In the three years ending March 2018, the total number of suspects dying was 55, of which 47 were suicides and 45 of these were men. There were 8 suspects who “died” without being classed as suicide, of which 7 were men.

I have pieced Figures 1 and 2 together from the following ONS sources,

I’ll return to domestic homicide stats in a following post.

Figure 1

Figure 2

3 thoughts on “Police Homicide Performance Meltdown

  1. Noel

    Probably you watch a lot of US television. We call it murder.
    Apart from that, I can see from your article the drop in detection and suspect that the police are more interested in hate crime nonsense since there is no likelihood of their getting hurt.

    1. William Collins Post author

      I don’t watch any form of TV. In the UK, homicide is an umbrella term for murder, manslaughter and infanticide.


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