Is the Ministry of Justice of any use?


30 October 2014

By Elizabeth Bradshaw

A recent submission to the Justice Select Committee has questioned whether the Ministry of Justice has ever done anything that has had any impact on the commission of any crimes in the UK since its inception in 2007.

The company providing the submission, Its Mine Technology, also claims that “the police have no idea what effective role they have had in reducing crime, no idea based on evidence, about what works and little or no evidence to back any initiatives.”

This submission is based on behavioural economics and uses the government’s own research to support its argument. They suggest that the acceptability of, for instance, someone buying a laptop or music system on the black market can be reversed through encouraging it to become more socially unacceptable.

An example to illustrate the potential of this idea is that the number of people killed every day by drink drivers in 1979 was 28, compared to only 4 people a day in 2009. The Department of Transport has conducted research that this statistic is directly attributable to a major advertising campaign that ran between 1987 and 1992 aimed at changing the social acceptability of drink driving.

The submission sent to the Justice Select Committee suggests that behavioural change can be achieved through similar means and encourages the government to consider alternative means to preventing this type of crime other than introducing new tougher sentences.

The Committee may not accept the submission, but if it does then it could result in a further impact advertising campaign running for years to change the way people view activities such as buying cheap goods on the black market

The above is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues. 

If you require further information please contact Peter Butterfield on 01245 228125 or email