Survey shows nearly six in 10 people have committed an offence in the past year – and don’t regret it

Nearly six in 10 adults have committed an offence in the past year, a new survey has revealed, as reported in The Times.

Top of the league of common crimes are motoring offences, including driving over the speed limit (35 per cent), eating or drinking at the wheel (21 per cent) and using a mobile phone while driving (10 per cent).

Some 14 per cent said that they illegally downloaded or streamed music, films or games while 11 per cent said that they were guilty of dropping litter.

The survey of 2,000 adults also found that people did not believe their offences mattered. Nearly half (47 per cent) of lawbreakers said that their offence was minor while 44 per cent said their misdemeanours were acceptable because “everybody else does it”.

Others suggested that a lack of an obvious victim was a factor in their willingness to break the law (47 per cent), although more than half (57 per cent) admitted that they had no excuse. Fewer than a third of respondents said that they regretted breaking the law, while 39 per cent said they committed a crime because they believed they would not get caught.

Sean Joyce, head of regulatory and criminal justice at Stephensons, the law firm that commissioned the survey, said: “While the majority of the crimes admitted to may seem minor to most of us, the extent to which the rules of our society are being flouted on a regular basis means millions are running the risk of prosecution, fines and even a custodial sentence.

“Often, the fact that these minor crimes are committed so often - and by so many - is seen as a justification, meaning the perpetrators rarely feel any sense of guilt or remorse associated with other more serious crimes.”

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