Mark Easton, Home editor

Mark Easton Home editor

This is where I discuss the way we live in the UK and the many ways in which that is constantly changing

The truth behind the rise in sex crimes

24 April 2014
Rape protest, London 2013

Today's figures showing a 20% annual increase in recorded rapes and a 17% rise in sexual offences reported to police in England and Wales may seem like evidence of a horrifying social trend. But perversely, the statistics are actually a cause for optimism.

Survey data and academic research has long indicated that the criminal justice system was identifying only a fraction of the sex crimes being committed. Most victims were suffering in silence.

"Sex offences" is probably the most damaging crime category of all. The effects are likely to be psychologically devastating for years, sometimes a lifetime. People usually recover quite quickly from a burglary, theft or even a mugging. But rape and sexual abuse offences have a long, grim tail.

Police and prosecutors have put great effort into encouraging victims to come forward - the belief being that a trusted state justice system is an effective tool in reducing the profound harm caused by sexual crime of all kinds.

That is why the revelation, buried within today's crime figures, that last year police recorded more than 1,000 incidents of rape against boys younger than 13, may be regarded as a welcome development. It is an increase of 54% on the previous year and more than double the number identified in any year before 2009.

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Are late night brawls a thing of the past?

23 April 2014
Man drinking a pint

Our society is becoming significantly less violent. Today's figures suggesting a 12% year-on-year drop in admissions to English hospitals for violent injuries are just the latest evidence of a remarkable and welcome trend. Something extraordinary is happening.

The chances of being a victim of violent crime in Britain are half what they were less than 20 years ago. Murders are at their lowest level since the early 1980s.

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Mark added analysis to:

Phone-hacking trial: Andy Coulson quizzed over 'dark arts'

15 April 2014

The hacking trial has revealed some of the inner workings of the Britain's tabloid press.

Today the jury at the Old Bailey was shown a floor plan of the News of the World which included one room marked as "secret office".

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UK becoming 'more local and global'

7 April 2014
Who do we think we are?

Many people in the UK feel a growing connection with others in their neighbourhood and the wider world, but shrinking ties with their own country.

The figures come from a survey for the BBC's Who Do We Think We Are? project, which asked if people felt more or less connected to others than a decade ago.

Graphic on connectedness

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Going back to first principles

31 March 2014

Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary is an organisation with a dust-laden, antiquated sounding name. Small wonder, perhaps, that 21st Century marketing people have reduced it to HMIC on the letterhead and doorplate, fearful of appearing outdated and out-of-touch.

The word 'constabulary' takes us back to the earliest days of the police service - of 19th Century crime-ridden London and the constables who marched out of their stations for the first time in 1829, a copy of Sir Robert Peel's Principles of Law Enforcement in their breast pocket.

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Vicar or publican - which jobs make you happy?

20 March 2014
Rev

Which would you be happier doing - serving pints or serving God? Helpful advice on how to make those difficult life choices is on hand.

The Cabinet Office has been looking at the relationship between different jobs and levels of life satisfaction, and publicans, it turns out, are in the unhappiest occupation of all. They are closely followed by brickies and debt collectors.

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Iain Duncan Cupid?

15 March 2014
Cupid

Can Iain Duncan Smith claim to be a latter-day Cupid? Is the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) mending broken relationships? Are government policies actively helping separated parents find love again and move back together?

That appears to be the claim this week from a DWP press release announcing that 250,000 more children in the UK are living with both birth parents, associating the rise with the government's "comprehensive and pioneering programme of support for families".

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Building on the suburban dream

12 March 2014
Metroland poster

John Betjeman may well be turning in his grave: there are plans afoot for the "urban intensification" of London's suburbs.

The "Supurbia" proposal, supported by the capital's Deputy Mayor and housing chief, envisages tens of thousands of new homes a year in "thriving, vibrant and sustainable" communities where residents share everything from cars and bicycles to mowing machines and rowing machines.

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A huge challenge for the head of the Met

7 March 2014
Sir Bernard Hogan Howe
Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe

Two contrasting views have filled my Twitter stream in the last 24 hours.

One suggests that there is nothing remotely shocking about the review into police corruption and spying by the Met surrounding the Stephen Lawrence case - we all know the score.

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About Mark

Mark joined his local paper after leaving school, inspired to become a journalist by playing Waddington's Scoop aged 13.

He has won numerous awards for his reporting. Most recently, his writing won a Royal Statistical Society award for excellence and was a finalist in the online journalism awards in San Francisco.

His ambition is to try to chronicle the story of changing Britain, and for Arsenal to win some silverware.

Before becoming BBC News home editor in 2004, Mark was home and social affairs editor at Channel Four News and political editor at Five News.

He is married with four children.

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