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Criminology Skills

Criminology Skills (3rd edn)

Emily Finch and Stefan Fafinski
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date: 30 June 2022

p. 1Introductionlocked

p. 1Introductionlocked

  • Emily Finch
  •  and Stefan Fafinski


The cover of this book features an open penknife with an impressive range of attachments, set against a bright yellow background. So why did we pick this as the image to capture what we think Criminology Skills is all about? Without turning this into a media studies lesson, the cover says several things to us. First, by its very nature, much crime is hidden. Criminals tend not to want their activities to be made public. Criminology aims to bring criminality into the light: to explore issues such as why people start to offend, the causes and consequences of crime, methods of crime prevention, public perceptions and reactions to crime, measuring and quantifying crime, how the criminal justice system, the police, the courts, the probation and prison service, should deal with offenders, and methods that the state uses, especially the criminal law, in response to crime. Secondly, a penknife is quite capable of causing harm: stabbing or merely cutting someone with a knife could give rise to criminal liability for a range of different offences. Simply waving it at someone could be criminal. What about possession of the penknife in a public place? Or selling one to someone under the age of 16? Is it an offensive weapon or a weapon of offence? These have distinct meanings in the criminal law of England and Wales. Knife crime is a topic that is always of concern in the media. Thirdly, and perhaps, most importantly, a penknife contains a whole selection of different tools that can be used in different situations to make life easier. Several years ago, one of us was asked the question: ‘Why do you make such a fuss about skills? These students are at university. They ought to know how to study by now.’ Our answer is that, yes, perhaps students ...

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