Panorama: Cops and Robbers
BBC One, Sunday, 17 April 2005 at 22:20 BST
Law and Order will be a key issue in the General Election campaign and the politicians are presenting voters with contradictory messages. The Conservatives tell us crime is out of control with a big increase in violent assaults, meanwhile Labour says that crime has been falling steadily since they took office.
Panorama assesses the true picture of crime in Britain. Amidst claim and counter claim, Cops and Robbers examines whether crime is rising or falling.
Focusing on the crimes which matter most to the public because they create victims, the programme asks whether more police on the streets will mean fewer burglaries, and if the increase in violent crime has more to do with the way the Police record crime than with an increase in assaults. And, could a reduction in car crime be down to better vehicle security or is it that more car thieves are locked up behind prison bars?
The programme has filmed extensively with West Yorkshire Police to discover whether a new performance culture with tough targets for crime reduction has affected crime rates.
Panorama has filmed inside one of Britain's largest prisons, Armley in Leeds, meeting inmates and staff who work to rehabilitate them. The programme also hears from prolific criminals and the victims of crime to find out what they think will cut offending.
There is little doubt about one thing: Britain is one of the most crime ridden countries in the world. As part of Panorama's special election coverage, which has also examined the performance of the NHS under New Labour, Cops and Robbers assesses how and why each party's policies might have an effect on tackling the problem.
Producer: Jonathan Brunert
Assistant Producers: Jack Enright, Patrick Barrie, Stephen Barrett
Deputy Editors: Andrew Bell, Frank Simmonds
Editor: Mike Robinson