Does Britain's criminal justice system putting people off reporting crime?

Justice Scales and books and wooden gavel
Justice Scales and books and wooden gavel

Most of us would like to think we have a fairly strong sense of what’s right and wrong.

But when it comes to our nearest and dearest breaking the law, we’d struggle to snitch on them, data shows.

And former detective and Crimewatch host Rav Wilding thinks our ‘old-fashioned’ criminal justice system is putting people off coming forward.

He said: “In my time in the police and since doing all the TV shows I know full well you get a lot of occasions where people have seen exactly what’s happened but you don’t have the evidence because of that reason - people are scared.

“It’s a very old fashioned system that we have here in the way that people have to stand up and give evidence face to face.

“There are only a few circumstances where you could cover their face and give them anonymity - it’s actually quite difficult to do and most crimes you can’t do it for.”

According to YouGov data gathered in August 2018, just three quarters of Brits would ‘definitely’ report a loved one for murder and rape (77% and 76% respectively), while only half would report someone close to them for being a heroin dealer (51%) or for committing domestic violence (47%).


Just four in ten (41%) Britons would definitely report a loved one for illegal possession of a firearm, followed by 37% for assault and 32% for drunk driving.

Just 15% would report a friend or family member for tax evasion while only 13% of Britons would report someone close to them for shoplifting.

The figures are discussed during the latest episode of Yahoo UK’s podcast Britain Is a Nation Of..., which focuses on crime.

The statistics prompt the podcast to ask what puts people off reporting crime - even if it’s been committed by someone they don’t know.

Rav told the podcast technology could help improve things, such as submitting footage of incidents if you happened to have some.

Listen to "Britain Is A Nation Of..." on iTunes, Spotify, or aCast

“In an ideal world I would try and allow this legal system that we’ve got to be more modern and to allow people to provide all their details to the police but then from that moment onwards to be given anonymity,” he said.

“To be able to stand in court and not be seen by the defendant and to be able to give your evidence in confidence knowing that you’re safe.

“I think that’s a big part of what’s stopping people coming forward and if there’s any way we could move with the times I think now is the time to do it.”

This survey was made possible by YouGov’s panel of 6 million respondents. Join the trend and share your opinions with the world today.