Journal Article

Why Are Arson Detection Rates so Low? A Study of the Factors that Promote and Inhibit the Detection of Arson

Matt Hopkins

in Policing: A Journal of Policy and Practice

Volume 3, issue 1, pages 78-88
Published in print January 2009 | ISSN: 1752-4512
Published online January 2009 | e-ISSN: 1752-4520 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/police/pan069
Why Are Arson Detection Rates so Low? A Study of the Factors that Promote and Inhibit the Detection of Arson

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The national detection rate for arson is very low when compared to that for most other offence types. This paper explores why this is the case. It begins by examining the way arson is identified and recorded, and highlights the large mismatch between the numbers of deliberate fires recorded by fire and rescue services and the number of arson cases recorded by the police. It then turns to the issue of detection rates for those incidents identified as arson. Here, particular attention is given to a study that tracked 240 investigations across six police BCU areas. Analysis is conducted by using a framework based upon considering how the nature of cases, police activities, regimes and resources impact upon detections. Finally, a number of concluding comments are made.

Journal Article.  5718 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Policing

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