Young Brits are less likely to say they'd report their nearest and dearest for crimes – even murder

Matthew SmithHead of Data Journalism
August 06, 2018, 11:00 PM GMT+0

YouGov asks Britons whether they would be willing to inform the police of the crimes of close friends and family members

Would you be prepared to report a loved one to the police if you discovered they had committed a crime?

This was the question a new YouGov survey posed to the nation, revealing the extent to which Britons would struggle to find it in themselves to report on those they hold most closely.

Of the twelve crimes listed, Britons are most likely to say they would “definitely” report their nearest and dearest for murder (77%) and rape (76%). These levels of certainty quickly drop off, however, with only around half of Britons saying they would report someone close to them for being a heroin dealer (51%) or for committing domestic violence (47%).

Only 41% of Britons would definitely report their kith and kin for illegal possession of a firearm, 37% for assault and 32% for drunk driving.

Despite public outrage whenever celebrities fail to pay their taxes, only 15% would report their near and dear for tax evasion.

At the bottom of the table, only 13% of Britons would report someone close to them for shoplifting. In fact almost half say they either probably wouldn’t or definitely wouldn’t report a close relative or friend for this.

Who are young people gonna call? Not the police

The survey reveals that young people are consistently less likely to say they would definitely report a close companion for a crime than their elders.

The biggest difference is over heroin dealing – while 69% of those aged 65 and older would report someone for this, only half as many 18-24 year olds (35%) would do so.

Other big differences include a 25 percentage point gap over reporting possession of a firearm (52% of 65+ year olds compared to 27% of 18-24 year olds) and a 22 percentage point gap over cannabis dealing (38% vs 16%).

Even when it comes to murder, the youngest Brits are 18 percentage points less likely than the oldest to say they would definitely report a close friend or relative (69% vs 87%). In fact, 10% of 18-24 year olds say they probably wouldn’t or definitely wouldn’t call the police if their near and dear had murdered someone.

The data also reveals differences between the genders, although they are much narrower than the divides between generations. The largest differences seem to involve men being less likely than women to report violent crimes: for instance, while 51% of women say they would definitely report domestic violence, only 42% of men would do so, and 47% of women say the same of animal cruelty compared to 39% of men.

Photo: Getty

See the full results here