Dominic Casciani has written a review article for BBC News:
BBC News: Did removing lead from petrol spark a decline in crime?
However I'm not sure why, because this matter was thoroughly examined by George Monbiot back in January 2013:
George Monbiot: The grime behind the crime
I speculate that Dominic Casciani is revisiting the same material purely to support his Radio 4 programme on the subject. I do wish the BBC would generate it's own ideas.
Anyway, the suggestion is that lead in petrol leads to criminality and therefore the removal of lead twenty years ago is responsible for the alleged current reduction in crime. Lead is a neuro-toxin and could certainly be a contributory factor, but I have another theory as to why the UK recorded crime figures have reduced over the last few months. Here's a link for reference, but let's remember that police crime figures aren't worth the paper they're written on.
The Guardian: England and Wales crime falls to lowest level in 32 years
Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, desperate to shore up his decaying stewardship of the Metropolitan Police Service, hasn't held back from claiming that he is responsible for the declining UK crime figures. This is highly unlikely, but to explain I have to again talk about Sir Bernard's Local Policing Model (LPM). This is his brainchild – the Brave New World of policing we have been working within since June 2013.
Recorded crime has not dropped because of the efficacy of the Local Policing Model, but for the following two reasons.
Crime has reduced because (1) the LPM now forces the public to jump through hoops when they wish to report crime, and (2) the LPM has eliminated the time available for officers to go out and pro-actively find crime.
Let's consider the first issue - obstacles preventing the reporting of crime:
Sir Bernard has closed stations and front counters with alacrity – on my borough the availability to the public has reduced by two-thirds. It's hard to find an open station, especially after 5pm.
The public must now request an appointment and hope that the attending officer's previous appointments have not overrun. The appointments are hourly and the officers often cover half a borough on foot, with perhaps 40 minutes travel time between the appointments. Inevitably many overrun and those later in the day are therefore cancelled.
I often see members of the public with their perplexed faces pressed against the glass of the closed front counters, wondering Where are the police officers? Many of them give up when they learn they must travel miles to the nearest open station or jump through the hoops of the appointments system.
The second issue - officers no longer able to pro-actively seek crime:
Tom Winsor's edict to get officers out of the back offices has had an unintended consequence. Instead of removing officers in 'back offices', Sir Bernard has closed the highly productive Beat Crimes, Case Progression Units, and other so-called 'back office' teams. These took possession of volume crime investigations and dealt with the prisoners – freeing other officers to patrol and do pro-active work, such as drugs warrants and removing dangerous dogs from their owners.
A valuable secondary function of the now non-existent Beat Crimes and Case Progression Units was that they provided investigative training for new officers.
These burdens now all lie squarely on the shoulders of the Local Policing Team officers, who are expected to do everything, and remember that the simplest prisoner can rarely be dealt with in less than six hours.
Under Sir Bernard's Local Policing Model, officers find less crime because they have no time to go out looking for it – they are instead tied up with appointments and drowning in volume crime. Instead of searching drug dealers on the street, or interrupting the drug supply chain by closing crack houses and executing warrants, they now visit café after café to check CCTV for wallets left on tables. Ironically, those officers who were moved to bolster the Local Police Teams now spend much of their time replacing desk-bound officers across the borough who are sick or on leave. This is because the LPT is treated as the 'go-to' team – a pool of resources that inspectors can dip into at will.
The appointments system has roughly ten slots each day, therefore a maximum of ten crimes can be reported per Disappointment Car. It's a bottleneck designed into the system – it regulates the rate at which people can report crime. No matter how much crime is happening, the individual crimes cannot be reported faster than ten per day. Also, the public don't expect to leap through hoops, so they sometimes just give up.
We spend less time out looking for crime, and the public can't report it!
Hey presto – The figures show a reduction!