The truth behind the rise in sex crimes
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.
Are late night brawls a thing of the past?
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.
Phone-hacking trial: Andy Coulson quizzed over 'dark arts'
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".
UK becoming 'more local and global'
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.
Going back to first principles
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.
Vicar or publican - which jobs make you happy?
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.
Iain Duncan 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".
Building on the suburban dream
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.