British Council English For Modern Policing
Mark Roberts (coordinator)
Ioana Bordeianu Ileana Chersan
Camelia Budişteanu Cătălina Harabagiu-Dimitrescu
Andrea Călugăriţa Amalia Niţu
Ileana Catina Gabriela Şerbănoiu
A practical English language
course for law-enforcement
students and professionals.
Ileana Catina, Centrul de Studii
Policing the Multicultural Society
Mark Roberts, British Council, România
Amalia Niţu, Academia de Poliţie,
“ A.I.Cuza”, Bucureşti
Crime and Punishment
Ileana Chersan, Academia de Poliţie,
Trafficking in Human beings
Ioana Bordeianu, Şcoala de Agenţi de
Poliţie de Frontieră,” Avram Iancu”,
Centrul de Studii Postuniversitar,
Dealing with Vehicle Crime
Ioana Bordeianu, Şcoala de Agenţi de
Poliţie de Frontieră,” Avram Iancu”,
Crime, investigation and social
Mark Roberts, British Council, România
Mark Roberts, British Council, România
Crime in Society: Domestic
Violence and Violence against
Centrul de Studii Postuniversitare,
Computer Crime, Fraud and
Mark Roberts, British Council, România
Crime in Society: Child Abuse
Mark Roberts, British Council, România
Combatting Organised Crime
Mark Roberts, British Council, România
Gabriela Şerbănoiu, Academia de Poliţie
“A.I. Cuza”, Bucureşti
Women: For Better and For
Camelia Budişteanu, Academia de Poliţie,
Andreea Călugăriţa, Academia de Poliţie
“A.I. Cuza”, Bucureşti
Mark Roberts, British Council, Romania
UNIT 1 DESCRIPTIONS
Police officers will, on many occasions in their service, either be required to describe a person or
obtain a description.
Think about the topic. Discuss the following questions.
1. What is a description?
2. Why do we use descriptions in police work?
3. What should you pay particular attention to when compiling a description of a person?
4. When compiling a description of property what details should you pay particular
5. Are there any special skills required for police officers in producing a reliable and
accurate description of things which they have seen?
Think about the members of your class. Try to describe one of them so accurately that all
the others in the class would identify that person from your description. The following
checklist may be of help to you- but obviously you do not mention his/her name yet!
a) Full name, including any alias/ nickname
age: he/she is 20 years old; he is 20 years of age; he is aged 20; he is a 20 year old youth;
he is in his twenties/ early 20s/ late 20s; he is about/ approximately 20.
age group: school age / young/ middle aged/ old.
age range: under…/ over….
Height: tall/ short/ medium height/ average height
Build: fat/ heavy/ medium/ slim/ thin/ slightly built/ well built
Colour (ethnic origin): Caucasian or white European/ dark European/ Asian/ Afro-
Complexion: fresh/ ruddy/ pale/ pimply/ uses cosmetics
Hair: length/type- short/ long/ curly/ wavy/ bald/ colour- dark/brown/blond/grey/dyed.
He has got dark hair/ he is dark haired
Hair on face (facial hair): beard/ moustache/ dark chin/stubble
Eyes – colour of the eyes:
He has got blue eyes/ he is blue eyed
c) Distinctive (distinguishing) marks: birth marks/ moles/ warts/ scars/ tattoos/ deformity
other identifying marks.
Characteristics and habits: drinking/ smoking/ known associates
e) Dress (clothing): smart/ casual/ sporting/ scruffy/ vagrant
Items of clothing.
Try to build up a complete description of yourself.
Grammar: Order of adjectives
1. She has got curly blond long hair.
2. He is wearing a long black leather jacket.
3. He is a middle aged short man.
4. He is driving a black small car.
What’s wrong with these sentences?
This is generally the correct order of adjectives:
Size Style/pattern Colour/material (Noun)
Put the adjectives in order in these phrases:
a) grey short straight hair
b) brown large round eyes
c) grey woolen long sweater
d) short silk floral dress
e) cotton striped blouse short-sleeved
f) blue dark four-door saloon
Translate the following text into English:
Martorul incidentului a declarat ofiţerului anchetator că l-a văzut pe cel care a tras două focuri de
armă asupra victimei. El a descris suspectul după cum urmează:
“ Suspectul era un bărbat alb, de talie mijlocie, în vârstă de aproximativ 30 de ani. Avea părul
negru tuns scurt şi mustaţă. Purta un tricou de culoare deschisă şi pantaloni negri. După atac s-a
urcat într-o maşină albă, model japonez, cred, şi a părăsit locul faptei în viteză. Asta-i tot ce îmi
Detectives investigating a series of serious indecent assaults in Havant and Hayling Island know
that at least two were carried out by the same man.
And the methods used in the other incidents- between December 1999 and July 2000- suggest
that he could also have been responsible for at least three others.
A major inquiry team has been set up to investigate the assaults, and DNA evidence has shown
there is a positive link between two of the attacks – on a 51-year- old woman between Havant
and Emsworth and on a 13- year- old girl in a Hayling Island church yard.
Detectives are especially keen to find the perpetrator before he strikes again because his attacks
are becoming progressively more violent and showing signs of more planning.
In the most recent attack – on Friday, July 7, 2000, at 7.50pm – a 15- year- old girl was cycling
home north along the disused Hayling Billy railway line, now a public footpath. As she reached
West Lane she heard someone on the path behind her. Thinking it was a jogger or walker she
made way for them to pass, but instead she was grabbed from behind by a man.
The attacker threatened to kill her if she struggled and tried to drag her into the bushes at the side
of the footpath. But the girl managed to fight her way free and screamed for help, frightening the
The terrified girl was then able to cycle to a petrol station and phoned the police. She has been
able to describe the man who attacked her as follows:
• Clean shaven
• 5ft 7ins tall
• Short grey to fair hair
• Physically weak
• Wearing a black woollen hat
• Long sleeved dark coloured top and jogging bottoms
She has also helped detectives piece together a CD-fit image of the attacker.
This attack bears all the hallmarks of at least four other incidents since December 1999 – and
another reported prowler incident could also have been the work of this man. Based on the
victims’ statements, the composite description of the man responsible for their ordeals is that he
• Aged 35 to 55 years
• 5ft 5 in to 5ft 8in tall
• Slim to slight build
• Described by all the victims as physically weak
• Reasonably deep voice
• Smelled very strongly of cigarettes
• In four out of the five attacks he wore gloves.
In the May attack, -the only one in daylight – he wore a dark blue sweatshirt or, possibly a blue
jacket with side pockets, and pale blue or possibly white trousers or jeans.
Police officers want to hear from anyone who recognise the description.
Decide which statements are true and which are false. Write T if you think the statement is
true and F if you think it is false.
1. Detectives are investigating a series of indecent exposure cases.
2. DNA evidence has shown there is no positive link between two of the attacks.
3. A 15-year-old girl was cycling home
4. She was grabbed by the hand.
5. The attacker dragged her into the bushes at the side of the footpath.
6. The victim drove off to a petrol station and phoned the medical services.
7. The girl described the man as being black, short but strong, wearing light coloured clothes.
8. The suspect is known as a heavy cigar smoker.
9. The same attacker may also be responsible for at least three other attacks.
10. Police launched a nationwide hunt for the man who carried out the assaults.
Follow - up discussion
Work in groups or with a partner and discuss the following issues:
Motive for the attack
Chances of the attacker being caught
Punishment for such offences under the criminal code
a) Vocabulary – specialist terminology related to suspects’ description. Find the right
equivalent in Romanian.
To describe a person
To give a description
To compile a description
To produce a reliable and accurate description
To draw a sketch
To build a description/picture
Personal description/word picture/spoken picture /sketch portrait
Computer description (CD) fit/identity kit/photo-fit system
Computer –generated image (E-Fit)
Features (the face or countenance)
Description of suspect/offender
To fit/ match the description
To locate suspects
Suspects wanted for
Suspects considered to be armed and dangerous
Suspect described as follows
Last seen wearing
Choose the right word from the list above to complete the text :
To all Station Commanders
The Serious Crimes Squad is requesting the assistance of your office in ____1______ four
suspects ____2_____ for the shooting of a Turkish businessman at the Palace Hotel in Bucharest.
The members of our Squad are in the process of ____3_____ the pictures of the alleged shooters
based on descriptions ____4_____ by witnesses. Using ____5___ from police criminal records
we’ve found no one _____6_____ the offenders’____7_____.
Photocopy pictures of the suspects will be made available to you as soon as possible.
Should your officers locate any of the suspects, report location immeadiately. Do not attempt to
apprehend . Suspects are to be considered ___8____ and ___9___.
Thank you for your assistance in this matter and if you have any further questions please do not
hesitate to contact our investigating officers.
Use a verb from the left and a noun phrase from the right, make phrases describing police
activities. You can use the verbs with more than one phrase. Make up sentences of your
Conduct identification parade
Collect crime scene examination
Take (to) investigation
Attend police files
Search (for) crimes
Interview emergency call
Put in the correct prepositions:
POLICE BUILD PICTURE _1__ ALLEGED TERRORIST WHOSE CHOICE _2__
CAR WAS BASED _3__ SIZE _4__ BOOT
A saleswoman who sold the car used __5_ the Ealing bombing _6_ a suspected member _7__ the
Real IRA cell behind the attack said the man had chosen the vehicle _8__ the biggest boot.
Speaking yesterday as police issued an e-fit _9__ the man believed to have bought the car, the
woman said the man had paid _10__ cash and it had taken only 20 minutes _11__ him first
seeing the car untill he drove away _12__ it.
The five-door grey Saab turbo was bought __13__ the car lot _14__ Ilford, Esseex, _15__ July
19, two weeks before the explosion __16__ Ealing, west London, last week which injured 11
The e-fit shows a white man _17__ his mid-30s, 5ft 10in _18__ 5ft 11in tall and _19__ slim
build. He has straight blond hair and a pitted face which suggests he suffered _20___ acne
__21__ some time. The man has a slightly dimpled chin and speaks _22__ a soft Irish accent.
After buying the car he asked directions _23__ the A46, known _24__ Londoners as the north
circular road, suggesting he was not local.
Re-read the text and translate it into Romanian.
Use all information in the text to fill in the “Police Report” at the end of this unit.
Activity 6 PARTS OF THE HUMAN BODY AND INJURIES
Injuries - vocabulary
To receive/sustain injuries
Minor/ serious/ injuries
Deaths – fatalities
Wounding – to wound
Stab – to stab
Concussion – to concuss
Bruise – bruising
Translate the following sentences into Romanian:
Two police officers
received serious injuries while attemting to quell a disturbance outside a
town centre discotheque.
1) The post mortem examination revealed that death had been caused by a single
wound to the head.
2) The victim of the assault complained that he had two broken ribs and bruising to his head
3) The murderer
stabbed his victim in the heart with a kitchen knife.
4) No casualities were reported in last week’s accident but the driver was treated for severe
5) The gunman
shot his victim once in the chest.
LISTENING MISSING FATHER AND SON
Discuss the following questions with a partner:
1. Why do people go missing?
2. What do you do if you are concerned about a missing person?
3. Are there any specific requirements in reporting a missing person to the
4. Is there a national service or helpline one can apply to when there is a long-
term absence or where there is cause for concern?
5. What problems are associated with finding persons who go missing?
6. Give your own opinions (speculate) as to what may happen to a missing
In such cases, it is common to speculate about where a person may be now or what may have
happened to her.
So we can speculate about the present using
May/might be +….ing ( may be holding; might be keeping her prisoner; might be
Or about the past using
May/might have + past participle
May/might have been + past participle (PASSIVE)
She/he may be with her/his relatives in countryside.(PRESENT)
Someone may have abducted her/him (PAST) and may be keeping her/him
Make notes while listening to the tape. Write down all important details.
You have just listened to a police report. Use the notes you have made to answer the
1. How old is the missing son?
2. Since when have the pair been missing?
3. What is the prime concern of the police?
4. How tall is Simon ( the father)?
5. What distinctive mark does he have? Where?
6. What was the baby wearing when last seen?
7. What vehicle (s) could the pair be travelling in?
8. Where have the police displayed posters featuring photographs of the pair?
9. What is Simon keen on?
10. What do the police urge the father to do?
Translate the following text into English:
POLIŢIST UCIS CU MITRALIERA LA TIMIŞOARA
Un poliţist a fost ucis cu focuri de mitralieră, iar un altul a fost izbit cu maşina în timp ce
urmăreau un autoturism furat. Este pentru prima oară când hoţii recurg la mitralieră în
confruntarea cu apărătorii legii şi ordinii
Un poliţist din Timişoara a fost ucis cu focuri de mitralieră, în zori zilei de duminică, 4 martie
2001, în timp ce urmăreau o maşină furată. Un alt poliţist implicat în urmărire a fost izbit cu
maşina. Poliţia din Timişoara a primit, sâmbătă noaptea, o sesizare privind furtul unui autoturism
Mercedes de pe o stradă din oraş. Maşina a fost dată în urmărire locală şi a fost identificată, la
puţin timp, de o patrulă mobilă de poliţie, care i-a făcut semn şoferului să oprească. Persoana
aflată la volan a redus iniţial viteza, după care l-a lovit în plin pe unul din subofiţerii de poliţie,
Ioan Mateescu, aruncându-l la doi metri distanţă, pe carosabil.
Celălalt membru al echipajului de poliţie, plutonier major Saşa Disici, a urcat în maşina
personală şi a plecat în urmărirea autoturismului furat. Disici a luat legătura telefonic cu
poliţistul lovit, pe care l-a anunţat că în maşina urmărită se aflau trei persoane care au deschis
focul asupra sa, cu o mitralieră. „ Trag cu o mitralieră. Mă ciuruiesc!”- acestea au fost ultimele
cuvinte ale poliţistului. Mateescu a plecat cu un autoturism în căutarea colegului său, pe care l-a
găsit pe marginea şoselei, împuşcat mortal în piept şi cu pistolul din dotare în mâna stângă.
Poliţiştii timişoreni au realizat portretul robot al uneia din persoanele implicate în uciderea unui
poliţist în timpul exercitării atribuţiilor legale. Poliţiştii susţin că unul dintre agresori este brunet,
cu părul lung, are faţa ovală, nasul lung, ochi mari, negri, şi fruntea îngustă. Ei afirmă că
agresorul are în jur de 30 de ani, aproximativ 1,80m înălţime şi era îmbrăcat cu o geacă maro din
( „ Monitorul”, 5 martie, 2001)
Try to describe the two persons photographed here.
What are the most important distinguishing features for each?
Identify and correct the mistakes in each sentence
1. He is long brown hair.
2. She has a freshly complexion.
3. He is average high.
4. She has dark brown dye hair.
5. He is blue eyes.
6. He is a tattoo on his right forearm.
7. The suspect was casual dressed.
8. He is known to associate with drug addictions.
9. The suspect uses heavy make-ups.
10. He is a white european.
Border police and other law enforcement officers have special training to enable
them to spot imposters! Can you identify from the two photographs if it is the
1. Person reporting:
Address: Age Sex
Incident as Reported
Reported To: Time& Date
Name of premises
House No. Street
District or Town
Day Date Month Year No.of
If M/Vehicle Used
Show Reg. No. (or Part)
Description of Suspect/Offender
Smart Casual Sporting Scruffy Vagrant
Tattoos Scar Deformity Other
Enter Appropriate Code in Box Below
1 fat 1 White
1 balck 1 local 1 school
2 heavy 2 Dark
2 brown 2 north 2 young 2 12-13yrs
3 medium 3 Asian 3 ginger 3 south 3 middle
4 4 slim 4 Oriental 4 blonde 4 Scots 4 old 4 17-20yrs
5 5 thin 5 Arabian 5 white 5 Welsh 5 5 21-29yrs
6 6 6 6 grey 6 Irish 6 6 30-39yrs
7 7 7 7 bald 7 foreign 7 7 40-49yrs
8 8 8 8 dyed 8 8 8 50-59yrs
9 unknown 9 un-
9 unknown 9 9 60yrs&
Offender/Suspect Name&Address Reported Suspected Wanted
Complainant requests no publicity (Tick)
Officer in Case ………………………..
Officers Attending Scene (Officers Time and Date of Arrival ) Section Officer
Reporting Officer Plain Clothes
C.I.D. Crime &Vandalism Squad
Crime Prevention Other Supervising Officer
Witnesses: (Name, address- nature of evidence)
Report of Investigating Officer: I have made enquiries as follows:
SCENE VICINITY OF SCENE
Searched Local residents
Fingerprint examination Tradesmen
Occupants interviewed Passers by
Visitors Suspected persons
Relations Suspected vehicles
Employees Unusual telephone
SEARCH OF AREA FOR
Route taken by offender Abandoned property
Instrument Abandoned vehicles
ENQUIRIES TO TRACE SUSPECTS
Places of entertainment Hospitals/surgeries
Licensed premises Places of refreshment
Hotels/hostels Gipsy encampments
Observations to be kept Periodic visits
Photographs shown Photo-fit shown
Date Officer Rank & No.
UNIT 2 CRIME AND PUNISHMENT
Activity 1 Discussion
1. Why do we have rules and laws? Why do people follow them? Why do people break them?
2. Is ignorance of the law an excuse? Why (not)?
3. A policeman on duty kills a criminal while defending a victim? Has the officer committed any
4. What is crime? Take two minutes to write a possible definition for crime.
5. There is more crime than there used to be. Do you agree? Why (not)?
6. You are innocent until proven guilty! Why do you think miscarriages of justice still occur?
7. Where can you find the following signs? What do they tell you?
What effects do you imagine the following have had on crime?
1. the invention of gunpowder
2. the creation of police
3. street lighting
4. employment in factories
5. the payment of police
7. the discovery of fingerprints
9. the colour of man’s skin/religion
10. the welfare state
Look at the “spidergram” below and say what effect each of these factors has on the crime rate
Perpetrators will be
Activity 4 Writing
Crime is on the increase. Offer some possible solutions. Use the following phrases in an essay of
around 200 words.
It is my firm belief that...
One way to combat crime would be...
The result of this would be ...
Due to the fact that...
A further advantage of this...
On the other hand...
It would certainly be a good idea if ...
One final suggestion...
Preliminary acts as crimes
Read the following text and choose the best word for each space.
Certain types of behaviour take place before the ……1……of a crime but are nevertheless
complete crimes in……2….. These offences – solicitation, attempt and conspiracy – give the
police the opportunity to prevent the intended crime. Each offence can be punished even if the
……3….intended never occurred.
A number of states make …4….. a crime for a person to solicit (ask, command, urge, advise)
another person to commit a crime.
In most states an attempt to commit a crime is in itself a crime. To be guilty of the crime of
attempt, the accused must have ……5….intended to commit a crime and taken some substantial
…6….toward committing the crime. …7……preparation to commit a crime is not enough. The
difficult problem with the crime of attempt is determining ……8….the actions of the accused
were a step toward the …9…..commission of a crime or mere acts of preparation. A common
example of attempt is the situation in which a person decides to shoot and kill someone but,
being a poor…10……., misses the intended victim. The person doing the shooting would be
……11…for attempted murder.
A conspiracy is an agreement between two or more persons to commit a crime. The crime of
conspiracy is designed as a means of preventing other crimes and ……12…against criminal
activity by groups. ……13…..it is sometimes criticised as a threat to freedom of speech and
1. a) commission b) achievement c) accomplishment d) finalisation
2. a) them b) itself c) they d) themselves
3. a) bad b) harm c) wrong d) worse
4. a) it b) this c) - d) of
5. a) also b) both c) too d) still
6. a) way b) possibility c) step d) action
7. a) little b) just c) a few d) mere
8. a) when b) that c) whether d) therefore
9. a) actual b) current c) existing d) present
10. a) man b) guy c) killer d) shot
11. a) accused b) liable c) sentenced d) exonerated
12. a) striking b) urging c) beating d) interrupting
13. a) despite b) although c) however d) as well
Activity 6 Crimes against the person
Crimes against the person are serious offences. However the law protects the defendant by
defining the various levels of these crimes and by considering the circumstances of each offence.
Using dictionaries and working in pairs, give definitions to the following crimes.
Share your results with the class. One has been done for you.
Hate crime is defined as "the violence of intolerance and bigotry, intended to hurt and intimidate
someone because of their race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, or
(Community Relations Service, 1997)
N.B. In the texts, some of the crimes are specific to the American legal system, some to the
English. The two systems have different terminology, the more serious crimes in the US
system are called felonies and the less serious are called misdemeanors. There are different
terms for specifc crimes, too, e.g. larceny (US) is divided into petty and grand. In English
law, the crime is theft.
Activity 7 Crimes against property
Use the words in the box to complete the text.
assault, battery, homicide, murder, first-degree murder,
second-degree murder, voluntary manslaughter,
grievous bodily harm,
involuntary manslaughter, abduction,
slander, libel, hate crime
arson, burglary, computer crime, embezzlement, extortion, forgery, mugging, receiving stolen
property, robbery, shoplifting, unauthorised use of a motor vehicle, vandalism, theft
The category of crimes against property includes crimes in which property is damaged or cases
in which property is stolen or otherwise taken against the will of the owner.
a) … is the willful and malicious burning of another person’s property, whether owned by the
accused or not. If any property is burned with the intent to defraud an insurance company this is
usually a separate crime.
b) … also known as malicious mischief, is the willful destruction of, or damage to, the property
of another. It includes such things as smashing telephone kiosks, breaking windows, ripping
down fences, flooding basements and breaking car aerials. Depending on its extent, it can be
either a felony or a misdemeanor in the USA.
c) … is the unlawful taking of property of another with intent to steal it permanently. This crime
also includes keeping lost property when a reasonable method exists for finding the owner, or if
you keep property delivered to you by mistake..
d) … is a form of theft (or larceny in US). It is the crime of taking items from a store without
paying or intending to pay for them.
e) … is the unlawful taking of property or money by someone to whom it was entrusted. IN UK
it is a form of theft.
f) … is the unlawful taking of property from a person’s immediate possession by force or
intimidation, generally in banks, trains etc. In fact, it involves two criminal intentions: theft of
property and actual or potential physical harm to the victim
g) …, popularly called blackmail, is the use of threats to obtain the property of another. Its
statutes generally cover threats to do future physical harm, destroy property or injure someone’s
character or reputation.
h) …, originally defined as breaking and entering the dwelling of another during the night with
intent to commit a felony (commit theft –UK), now includes the unauthorised entry into any
structure with the intent to commit a crime, regardless of the time of day.
i) … is a crime in which a person falsely makes or alters a writing or document with intent to
defraud. It can also mean altering or erasing part of a previously signed document.
j) … is a crime of receiving or buying property that you know or have reason to believe is stolen.
Knowledge that the property is stolen may be implied by the circumstances.
k) … is committed when a person takes, operates, or removes a motor vehicle without consent of
the owner, including joy-riding. A passenger in a stolen car may also be guilty if that person had
reason to believe the car was being used without permission.
l) … can be broadly defined as the unauthorised access to someone else’s computer system. Most
of the time such action is designed to steal government or trade secrets and sell them to business
rivals or foreign governments.
m) … is attacking and violently robbing a person out of doors (e.g. in a park, in a car park or in
Work with a partner and test each other. One person turns the page over, the other asks
e.g. What do you call the crime of burning another person’s property?
“Thief” is a very general term. Write more specific names for a thief in each space.
Activity 9 Listening
Listen and complete the sentences below with a word, phrase or number.
Car theft accounts for 1)……….. of all crimes.
Methods include 2)………………. and equipment, and installing 3) ……………..
Neighbourhood Watch schemes help preventing 4)……………. and thefts.
Crime Concern was established in 5) …………………
In inner city areas the risk of burglary is 6)…………. than in rural areas.
Mass shootings have resulted in a review of regulations controlling 7)………………..
The problem of “drinking and driving” is combated by measures such as 8)…………….
Racial incidents consist in 9)…………………..and 10)……………….. in shops.
Activity 10 CRIME AND THE MEDIA
Explain and rewrite the headlines in detail.
4 bodies found in Camden County house; 6 arrested in drug raid nearby
Student kidnap case against bus driver on hold for mental review
Two arrested in woman's slaying
Search on for gunman in triple-killing
Robbery suspect takes hostages at California bank
Gunman Kills 2 Men; Mother, Unborn Baby Shot
Articles Hurt Search For Yates' Jurors
Life Or Death For Deputy Killer?
Five Killed In Murder-Suicide
Activity 11 QUIZ
• Among people victimized while working, men are more likely than women to experience a
violent crime. True or false?
• Which of the following methods is more likely to be used for killing a person? Why?
a) shooting b) hitting or kicking c) sharp instrument d) strangulation e) other
• Who among the following is least/most likely to kill you? For what reasons?
a) a friend or acquaintance b) a present or former spouse or lover c) another member of your
family d) a stranger e) a terrorist
• More women than men are found guilty of shoplifting. True or false?
Activity 12 Crime Fixation
We all tend to be cynical about tabloid media sensationalism, but do you realise just how much
your perceptions of crime have probably been distorted? Take a look at the table below and then
discuss on it with a partner.
Perception Statistical Picture
“Violent crime accounts for roughly a half of all
crime” (average estimate in public responses to
Violent crime accounts for only 6% of all crime.
“Young children and the elderly are the most at
risk from violent attack”.
Those least at risk from violent attacks are young
children and the elderly (only 2% of mugging or
beating victims are elderly).
25% of people expect to fall victim to violent
Only 1% of people ever experience violent crime.
“It’s dangerous to be out on the streets after
A greater number of violent attacks take place in the
home than on the street.
85% of adults believe it’s more dangerous for
children after dark now than when they were
young. Attack by strangers is the biggest fear
(survey by Dr Barnardo’s children’s welfare
Over the last 25 years there has been no increase in
child murder by strangers. The overall murder rate
(all age groups) has been almost static over the last
“There are weirdoes everywhere these days”
(quoted from a bystander at a child murder case,
interviewed on BBC News).
In most cases of violence, the offender is known to
the victim, rather than fitting the stereotype of
suspicious stranger or ‘weirdo’.
“They (violent offenders) are all on drugs these
The offender is seldom on illegal drugs, but is often
57% of women fear going out at night alone
(compared to 11% of men).
Only a small percentage of victims of outdoor
violence are female. Those most vulnerable
(statistically) are young males.
Activity 13 Punishments
1. A policeman on duty defends a victim and kills the criminal. What is he guilty of?
2. Do you agree with the death penalty? Why (not)? If you do, under what circumstances?
3. Imagine that you discover that your best friend has found a way of cheating in an important
exam which the two of you are taking soon. What would you do and why? Mention any
personal experience you may have had.
4. Should police officers carry guns? Why (not)?
What reasons can you give for choosing punishments? Select the three that seem most important
to you. Justify your choice(s).
- to make the punishment fit the crime;
- to teach them a lesson;
- to make them pay for their crimes;
- to give them a second chance;
- to deter others;
- to allow opportunity for rehabilitation;
- to ease the burden on tax payers;
to set an example.
Activity 14 Sentencing
Read about the court sentences in the text and think of a crime to fit each one.
If it is someone’s first offence, and the crime is a small one, even a guilty person is often
unconditionally discharged. He or she is set free without punishment.
The next step up the ladder is a conditional discharge. This means that the guilty person is set
free but if he or she commits another crime within a stated time, the first crime will be taken into
account. He or she may also be put on probation, which means that regular meetings with a
social worker must take place.
A very common form of punishment for minor offences is a fine, which means that the guilty
person is sentenced to a certain number of hours of community service.
Wherever possible, magistrates and judges try not to imprison people. This costs the state
money, the country’s prisons are already overcrowded and prisons have a reputation for being
“schools for crime”. Even people who are sent to prison do not usually serve the whole time to
which they were sentenced. They get “remission” of their sentence for “good behaviour”.
There is no death penalty in Britain, except for treason. It was abolished for all other offences in
1969. Although public opinion polls often show a majority in favour of its return, a majority of
MPs has always been against it. For murderers, there is an obligatory life sentence. However
“life” does not normally mean life. A parole system operates to give prisoners, even convicted
murderers under certain circumstances, an opportunity to be released "earlier".
with a partner and discuss the following questions:
1. What purpose do prisons fulfill in current society? What purpose should they fulfill?
Comment on the points in the list below.
2. What kinds of problems do prisoners face, both while they are in jail and after they are
3. Why are people sometimes tempted to take the law into their own hands? Are there any
circumstances in which this is justifiable?
Activity 16 Writing
Write a short essay- about 200 words- on punishment.
Try to use the following words and phrases:
depression, humiliation, fear of violence from guards or other inmates, contact with more
experienced and hardened criminals, drug abuse, ostracism, stigma attached to it, slip back
into his old ways, finding housing and employment, the law has failed them, a code of honour,
a blood feud, a vendetta, to take revenge on somebody
Activity 17 Appropriate sentences
Read the accounts of nine cases. The sentences have been left out. What do you think the
sentence should have been? Choose from the following:
the death penalty
1,500 years in jail
15 years in prison.
life in prison without parole.
18 years in prison
three years in jail
15 years in prison
1) SAN FERNANDO, Jan. 14 - A 16-year-old boy convicted of murdering two other teen-agers
on a La Crescenta playground over about $660 worth of marijuana was sentenced today
2) A former Immokalee man who has been in prison since 1996 pleaded no contest Monday to
shooting and killing another Immokalee man. Willie Barrett could have faced the death penalty if
convicted of first-degree murder in the shooting death of Henry Jean "Baby Ruth" Marshall on
Dec. 22, 1995. Instead, Collier County Circuit Judge Lauren Miller formally found him guilty of a
reduced charge of second-degree murder and sentenced him to …….
3) A former baby sitter was sentenced to ………. for causing the death of a toddler in her care.
Tawny Sue Gunter had pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter for causing 2-year-old Billy
Deon Blankenship to fall over the side of a staircase Nov. 15, 1990, at her Concordia, Mo.,
residence. Last Nov. 15, Gunter admitted grabbing Billy in a burst of anger and causing his fall.
4) A former police officer who admitted killing his wife was sentenced in Rockland County Court
yesterday to …………. after appeals from his daughter for leniency and from his former mother-
in-law that he be jailed longer.
5) Thursday, September 06, 2001 OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. — The city's new district attorney is
pressing ahead with state murder charges against bombing conspirator Terry Nichols — and is
seeking………... - despite Nichols' federal conviction and the high cost of prosecuting him.
6) Shooting spree leader gets ……….Three bored Athens teen-agers with idle time, a car and
a hunting rifle spent a weekend last February shooting up empty schools, cars, and occupied
homes for kicks.
7) A man who did cocaine, ecstasy and cannabis in a nursery school in Edinburgh, was sent to
prison for…………... John Curran was arrested by police after a successful operation was
mounted. The drugs recovered had an estimated street value of £220.000.
8) An all-white jury in Oklahoma City yesterday convicted a Negro, aged 22, of raping a white
employee of a telephone company. They sentenced him to …………..after the prosecution said
that 500 years would be just a “slap on his wrist”.
9) A Glasgow housebreaker is now serving ………..after an intensive police investigation put
him behind bars. Following a series of break-ins, the “Operation Magpie” squad carefully
analysed each crime and established a pattern, suggesting the same person was responsible.
The painstaking investigation led to a Glasgow criminal called David Kelly. He was arrested and
charged with a total of 33 break-ins across Edinburgh.
Activity 18 Role play
Read the following newspaper stories. The class will be divided into 2 groups, one will be the
prosecution and one will be the counsel for the defence. Elect three representatives in each team.
After preparation, each representative will talk to his/her counterpart, in turn. Decide on the
appropriate punishment for the offenders in each case; prepare to make demands, plead, justify,
A B C
An innocent man was
released from prison today
after serving ten years of a
thirty year prison sentence
for murder. The man had
been found guilty on false
police evidence. Before
leaving the court, the man’s
solicitor spoke to the
reporters: “Thank God we
don’t have capital
punishment any more”, he
A boy and a girl were in
hospital yesterday after
being attacked by guard
dogs. They had climbed
over a factory wall to fetch
their football. “If they
hadn’t been in the factory
this wouldn’t have
happened”, said the owner.
“My dogs were just doing
A young mother
appeared in court
yesterday. She was
charged with £20
worth of food from a
woman told the court
that she had stolen the
food for her children.
She had lost her job
and had no money.
Activity 19 Listening
Listen to the following report on drink-driving and fill in the blanks in the table below with a
number, word or short phrase.
Conviction Imprisonment Ban Fine
Causing death by 1)………….
whilst under the influence of
2) ………….. 2 years
Driving whilst 3)………through
6 months 4)……………..
or 3 yrs if convicted
in 10 yrs.
6)………….. of a vehicle 7)………………. 8)…………..
Refusing to provide a
6 months 12 months 10)………….
What are the punishments for such offences in your country?
This is the story of a serial killer called ‘Son of Sam’.
• What is a serial killer? Have you heard of any?
• What do you expect to find out about serial killers after reading this text?
Read the text. Some sentences have been removed. Decide where they should go.
Look at the underlined vocabulary items and look up any unknown words.
Son of Sam
….a)… Two young women, Donna Lauria, and her friend Jody Valenti, were talking in Jody's car in the
Bronx, New York City. A man pulled out a Charter Arms .44 Bulldog handgun from a paper bag,
squatted down and fired into the car five times. Donna died immediately, hit in the neck. Jody, shot in the
thigh, leaned on the horn while the man continued to pull the trigger, even though the chamber was now
On the night of October 23, 1976, three months after the Lauria girl’s senseless murder, twenty-year-old
Carl Denaro was shot five times in the head. A little more than a month later, on the evening of November
26, 1976, Donna DeMasi and her friend Joanne Lomino were fired at and
Of these three assaults which had occurred in two different areas, the Bronx and Queens, only one bullet
had been recovered intact. Consequently, police were not yet able to link these attacks to a single
Things quietened down for two months. Then in the early hours of January 30, 1977, the killer went
hunting for his next victim. Christine Freund and her finance John Diel left The Wine Gallery in Queens
around 12:10 A.M. and strolled towards his car. As they sat in the car, two shots broke the night,
shattering the windshield. Christine grabbed her head; both shots had struck her. John rested her head on
the driver's seat and ran for help, trying to flag down passing cars, but to no avail. People in nearby homes
had heard the shots and had called the police. A few hours later Christine died in hospital.
Forty-three-year-old Detective Sergeant Joe Coffey and Captain Joe Borrelli started to work on this latest
homicide. Coffey could see that the bullets used to kill her were not typical. …b)…Investigating further,
he discovered that her murder matched those other assaults on Donna Lauria, Donna LaMasi and Joanne
Coffey had a hunch that they were dealing with one psycho using a .44,
stalking women in various parts
of the city. As his investigation began to bear fruit, a homicide task force was formed under Captain
Borrelli. After probing into the backgrounds of the murders and their victims, police were unable to find
any suspect on record; ….c)…It was beginning to look as though a psycho had randomly targeted
attractive young women for assassination.
• When did the police realise that the attacks belonged to the same individual?
• What information can the type of the bullet provide?
Why is the background of a murderer important in solving a crime
On the evening of Tuesday, March 8, 1977, an attractive young Barnard College honor student named
Virginia Voskerichian was shot in the face and died immediately.
The next day, the police had a match on the bullet. It had come from the same gun that had killed Donna
Lauria. The following day, the police commissioner held a press conference to announce to the City of
New York that they had linked the various shootings. …d)….
As expected, the phantom reappeared. On April 17, 1977, Valentina Suriani, and Alexander Esau.
Valentina was shot twice. She died immediately and Alexander a bit later at the hospital. This psycho
who would keep on killing until he could be found among the millions of men who fitted his description.
But -- this time there was something different: the killer's letter left at the scene of the murders addressed
to Captain Borrelli. The letter did not have any useful fingerprints and the envelope had been handled by
so many people that if there were any of the murderer's prints, they were lost…. e)…..
Operation Omega was growing in size and resources. It had expanded to some two hundred detectives.
Catching the perpetrator of six murderous assaults would mean tremendous awards for the detectives
involved -- and they knew it. It was an extra incentive
to put in long hours to catch this nut. Such long
hours, however, brought
The Omega task force was
flooded with calls. Everyone, it seemed, knew the killer: …f)….Every one of
these thousands of
leads had to be checked out and disqualified -- a huge chore for any task force.
While the police were chasing down every suspect, checking registrations for .44 weapons, tracing
activities of former mental patients and
generally running themselves ragged, the Son of Sam had become
emboldened by the publicity. He decided to write to a reporter for the Daily News.
Partial fingerprints were
salvaged from the letter, which were of no value in finding the suspect, but
would be valuable to match against a suspect once captured.
Donna Lauria, Son of Sam’s first victim, had been murdered on July 29, 1976. Considering the Son of
Sam’s letter, police were worried about an anniversary killing. …g)… The Omega task force was
desperate. How to protect a whole city of young women from a random killer? Detective Coffey even
considered placing cops in bullet-proof cars with mannequins to try to
lure the killer. …h)…Tensions
built steadily until July 29 and nerves were at a breaking point all that day and night, but no Son of Sam.
Not that day. Two days later when the police were beginning to feel relieved that the anniversary had
passed without another murder, the Son of Sam took his last victims.
In the early morning of Sunday, July 31, 1977, a pretty young woman named Stacy Moskowitz and her
handsome young boyfriend Bobby Violante were shot. He barely survived. She didn’t.
• Why is important for the press to know the development of the case?
• What is the impact of hunting a dangerous criminal on detectives’ lives?
• Why are fingerprints important?
• Why did the police expect the killer to strike again on July 29?
A Sam Carr remembered then the odd guy, David Berkowitz, who had briefly rented a room in their
house in early 1976. "He never came back for his two-hundred dollar security deposit when he left. Well,
he was always bothered by our dog, too."
On August 3, 1977, the two Yonkers cops, Chamberlain and Intervallo, proceeded cautiously and queried
the state computer network about Berkowitz. The computer gave a brief profile of him from his driver's
licence. Berkowitz appeared to be approximately the same age, height and build as the Son of Sam, as
described by various witnesses.
In the meantime, things seemed
to be popping all over. Officer Chamberlain of the Yonkers PD
responded to a call about a suspected arson at Berkowitz's apartment house at 35 Pine Street.
That same afternoon, Sam Carr, upset over the shooting of his dog and what he saw as non-action by the
police, independently pursued the matter with the Omega Task Force…. i)…
The day of Berkowitz's arrest, Sergeant Joseph Coffey was called in to interview him. Calmly and
candidly, David told him about each of the shootings. When the interview was over there was no doubt
that Berkowitz was the Son of Sam. The details that he supplied about each assault were bits of
information that only the killer would know. ….j)….