issue brief

Police Arms and Weaponry

The British police are famed across the world for being 'unarmed' - but this is a misnomer. Although police officers are not equipped with firearms as a matter of course, they are routinely issued with other weapons and have access to a wide range of guns and other lethal and non-lethal equipment.Read More

Police Funding

Although police forces are subject to considerable control from the Home Secretary and Chief Constables remain responsible for operational matters, Police Authorities have had principal responsibility for police funding. However, the Coalition government decided that from November 2012, Police Authorities should be abolished and replaced with directly elected Police and Crime Commissioners. Read More

Police Numbers and Recruitment

Police numbers continued to rise steadily over the previous decade. However, due to budget cuts imposed by the Coalition government to tackle the deficit, police numbers have seen a reduction in recent times. Read More

Population Growth

The human population of the Earth has been growing since prehistoric times, but the past 200 years have seen human numbers grow exponentially. Read More

Post Office closures

Post offices have been a staple of British life for decades, providing a place for people to pay their bills, collect benefits, get their car taxed and buy stamps locally. But the number of branches has dwindled from about 25,000 in the mid 1960s to around 11,500 today.Read More

Pre-Budget Report

The Pre-Budget Report (PBR) was one of the economic policy innovations of Gordon Brown when he was Chancellor. From November 1997 he delivered an autumn PBR speech to the House of Commons, whilst simultaneously publishing the report.Read More

Press regulation

Print media in the UK are not subject to any specific statutory controls on their content and activities, other than the general criminal and civil law.Read More

Prison Officers

Prison Officers are the main front-line Prison Service staff working in prisons. They are responsible for ensuring and maintaining prison security, as well as ministering to the needs of prisoners.Read More

Prison Overcrowding

The British prison population has been increasing rapidly in recent years, and the prison estate has struggled to keep up with the rising demand. As prisons are expensive and take a long time to build, the result of a lack of capacity has been overcrowding, which is when prisons have to house more inmates than they are designed for. Read More

Prison Rehabilitation

Despite its barbaric origins in the medieval dungeon and torture chamber, since the late 18th century prisons have combined elements of punishment with elements of rehabilitation. As the French philosopher Michel Foucault put it, punishment shifted over time from the disciplining of the body to the disciplining of the "soul".Read More

Private Prisons

Since the early 1990s, British Governments have issued contracts to private firms for both the construction and the day-to-day running of prisons.Read More


Prostitution describes the offering and provision of sexual services for financial gain.Read More

Public Libraries

Public libraries in the UK are collections of books and other informational resources maintained by local authorities for the benefit of the public. Dating back over 150 years, many of the services provided by public libraries are free.Read More

Public Sector Net Cash Requirement

The Public Sector Net Cash Requirement (PSNCR) was formerly known as the Public Sector Borrowing Requirement (PSBR). It represents the annual fiscal deficit (in cash terms): that is, the shortfall between public sector revenues and expenditure. In accruals terms, this deficit is known as Public Sector Net Borrowing (PSNB).Read More

Public spending

Public spending is expenditure incurred by the "public sector" in the course of its activities. The public sector, in organisational and economic terms, is the sum of those parts of the economy formally under the control of or responsible to the state, including both central and local government.Read More