Law-abidingness – what’s your score?

According to a report published by the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies at King’s College, London:

The ‘law-abiding majority’, which politicians like to address, is a chimera. The law-abiding majority not only do not abide by the law, they also do not believe in the value of laws and rules, shrugging them off in pursuit of their interests and desires. They even regard law-abidingness as a disadvantage.

In a sample of 1,807 people in England and Wales aged between 25 and 65:

  • A third (34 per cent) paid cash in hand to avoid taxation.
  • Just under a third (32 per cent) kept money when ‘over changed’.
  • Around one in five (18 per cent) had taken something from work.
  • One in ten (11 per cent) avoided paying their TV licence.
  • One in ten (11 per cent) wrongly used identity cards for their own gain.
  • Just under one in ten (8 per cent) did not disclose faulty goods in second hand sales.
  • Seven per cent padded an insurance claim.
  • Six per cent asked a friend in bureaucracy to ‘bend the rules’.
  • Five per cent claimed for refunds they knew they weren’t entitled to.

Co-author of the study, Professor Susanne Karstedt, said:

Contempt for the law is as widespread in the centre of society as it is assumed to be rampant at the margins and amongst specific marginal groups. Anti-social behaviour by the few is mirrored by anti-civil behaviour by the many. Neither greed nor need can explain why respectable citizens cheat on insurance claims or in second hand sales, and do not hesitate to discuss their exploits with friends in pubs.

The above findings will of course come as no surprise to my law-abiding readers. It does surprise me though that so many don’t pay their TV licence despite all those spook-types driving around in unmarked vans, ready to pounce.

Seriously, though, is your pot not just a little black?