• Knife crime

    Knife crime

    Learn about the dangers of knife crime
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    We provide you with a safe place to give information about crime - 100% anonymously.

  • Drug running

    Drug running out of the city?

    County lines is the name given to this type of behaviour.

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Fearless is a site where you can access non-judgemental information and advice about crime and criminality.

What makes this site different is we also provide you with a safe place to give information to us about crime - 100% anonymously.

A-Z of
Crime Types

Use this guide to find out more information about all of the different types of crime and where to access further information, advice, help or support.


Actual bodily harm (ABH) is assault when you cause someone actual bodily harm for example breaking someone’s nose or causing bruising. The maximum sentence for ABH is 5 years.

*Known under Scottish law as 'Assault'. 

An abusive relationship can affect people of any age. It can happen in any type of relationship to all kinds of couples. Whether these are male/female relationships or same sex relationships. The abuse can occur in all sorts of different ways and is often used as a way to control a person – EG, violent abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, and financial abuse.

Acid attacks are a violent assault on victims and can leave devastating injuries. Acid is thrown onto the victim with one purpose; to injure, harm and maim. This type of attack is often used as a way of showing dominance, power and control. The intention of this type of attack is for someone to live with the injuries caused, for the rest of their lives. If you carry out an acid attack you could face life imprisonment.


Affray is a public order offence and you could be found guilty if you have used, or threaten to use violence towards another and if your behaviour causes people present at the scene to fear for their personal safety.
The maximum penalty  is 3 years' imprisonment and/or a fine.

Drinking alcohol underage and in public is illegal but this is not the only issue. When you drink alcohol it has a huge effect on your body as it acts as a ‘disinhibitor’, which means you will feel more confident and do things you might not usually do. As a result of this, some people will find themselves committing crimes they would not have even considered if they were sober. For example, starting fights and being anti-social in public.

There are two different types of animal cruelty: 

  1. Neglect through ignorance by not caring for an animal’s basic needs like food, water or shelter  
  2.  Deliberate cruelty: Causing pain, suffering or injury to an animal on purpose.

If found guilty you can be fined, sent to prison and banned from keeping animals for a specific period of time or for life.
For Scotland - https://www.scottishspca.org/contact-us

Arson is when you deliberately set fire to someone else’s property e.g. bins, buildings, cars etc.. Fires are easy to start and can spread very quickly even without you realising. It is against the law to commit arson and anybody found guilty of this could go to prison under the Criminal Damage Act 1971.

Antisocial behaviour (ASB) is when you act without considering others. Examples of antisocial behaviour include: Noisy behaviour in quiet streets, dropping rubbish and setting off fireworks late at night.


Bribery means to try to make someone do something for you by giving them money or gifts. It is a criminal offence and you could receive a maximum sentence of up to ten years in prison, a fine or both.

Burglary is when you steal something from a building e.g. someone’s house or a school etc. If you take a weapon with you this is classed as 'Aggravated burglary' which is more serious and could result in a long prison sentence.

*Known under Scottish law as 'Housebreaking.' 

Cash in Transit

Cash in  transit robberies (CIT)  is the transfer of physical money from one location to another. CIT robbery of a courier or van is treated as a very serious offence as they are often violent. If you are caught committing a CIT robbery or acting as a look-out to assist a robbery you will be charged.

Catfishing is when someone uses false images and information to create a new identity online.
It is technically not a crime but elements of the activity can be criminal. 
If a victim hands over money, the "catfish" could be prosecuted for fraud, or if someone uses a fake profile to post offensive messages or doctored images designed to humiliate could also face criminal action.

Coercion and control

Please see (D) Domestic Abuse 

Common Assault

Common assault is when you are violent or cause someone to fear violence e.g. hitting them or threatening them.  You don’t actually have to physically assault someone to be charged with common assault.  Sentencing could mean six months in prison or a fine up to £5,000.

County lines or 'going country' is the name given to a tactic used by drugs gangs. Gangs look to move their drug dealing outside of their normal operating area in order to establish themselves as the main dealers in a new area, usually a seaside town or market town outside of a big city like London. In order to establish themselves they often use violence and exploit local vulnerable people (young & old) in order to help them achieve this. It has become increasingly popular over the recent years with children as young as 12 running drugs from big cities to home counties.

Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) is a form of sexual abuse where a person (child under the age of 18) is groomed into taking part in sexual activity. The grooming can take place online or in person and it can also be carried out by a family member or complete stranger. The victim is usually tricked into this behaviour by the promise of gifts & money.


Cuckooing is the taking over of a vulnerable persons' home to use and sell illegal drugs from for a short period of time. The individual may have a mental/physical illness or may be promised free drugs in exchange for their house. The vulnerable person may also be sexually and physically abused throughout this process. 

Cyber bullying is when someone bullies someone else online. It includes sending abusive or threatening emails or messages, sharing images or personal information without consent or posting nasty comments on social media.

Cyber crime is a term for lots of different types of crimes which either take place online or where technology is used to help commit crime.
(See Catfishing, CSE, Grooming, Identity theft, Obscene Content, Radicalisation, Revenge Porn, Sexting, Sextortion)

Also sometimes known as 'acquaintance rape' as you might have just met the person but it can also happen with someone who you know very well. Even if you've consented to sex with someone in the past, it doesn't mean they have a right to have sex with you again against your will. Sometimes the person might trick you into taking a drug making you more vulnerable and easier for them to have sex with you.

Disability crime is the name given to any crimes that are committed against someone as a direct result of their disability. For example, writing insulting graffiti on someone’s property, attacking or assaulting someone or bullying (online or in person) just because of their disability.

Domestic abuse describes the behaviours that one person does to another within a family and/or relationships. This behaviour can include verbal threats, put-downs, controlling behaviour and violence. The behaviour seeks to take away the victim's liberty and freedom and strip away their sense of self, which can also be known as 'Coercive control.' 

Violent abuse can be one factor of an abusive relationship. The violence can include experiencing physical harm from a partner that kicks, hits, punches, throws or even just threatens to do these things. These acts of violence are considered as assault.

Driving under the influence of drink or drugs is against the law and a serious offence.

It is an offence to drive with some drugs above a certain level in your blood, illegal or prescribed, if you are stopped by the police you could lose your licence, pay a large fine and/or receive a six month prison sentence.

Whilst there is a legal drive limit it really depends on a number of factors such as gender, body mass and how quickly your body absorbs alcohol - everybody absorbs alcohol differently - it’s safest not to drink at all before driving.

You can be arrested for using, having or supplying illegal drugs. It doesn’t matter if you have a small or large amount, you can still be found guilty. Dealing drugs is more serious than using or having them on you. So if you sold drugs to your mates and got caught the sentence would be longer.
Class A – up to life in prison and/or an unlimited fine. Class B/C – up to 14 years in  prison and/or an unlimited fine.
For more info visit C - county lines 

Emotional abuse can be another factor of an abusive relationship. This can happen when a person puts you down, threatens you and controls you to act or behave in a certain way. This type of behaviour can be very manipulative and can be classed as harassment.


Is the action or fact of treating someone unfairly in order to benefit from their work. Examples might include forced or grooming behaviour so that you are committing criminal activity like drug running in County Lines.

Female Genital Mutliation (FGM) also known as female cutting or female circumcision is a cultural practice which involves the removal of some or all of a female’s vagina. FGM is illegal in the UK.

The FGM Protection Order offers the means of protecting actual or potential victims from FGM under civil law. Breach of an FGM Protection Order is a criminal offence carrying a sentence of up to five years in prison.

Financial abuse can be another factor of an abusive relationship. Asking someone for money, taking money or not giving money to a partner to be controlling are just some examples. Not allowing a partner to work to make their own money can also be a form of control. This type of behaviour is very manipulative and can be classed as harassment.

 Fire-raising is a common law offence under Scottish law applicable to deliberately starting fires with intent to cause damage to property.

Firearm Offences

Please see (G) Gun Crime 

You cannot buy 'Adult' fireworks if you are under 18 and its against the law for anyone to set off fireworks between 11pm - 7am except on certain occasions. 

It is also agaiist the law to set off or throw fireworks in the street or public places - this included sparklers. 

If you sell or use fireworks illegally you could be fined up to £5,000 or 6 months imprisonment - you could also receive an on the spot fine of £90.
Gang Crime

A gang can be a group of friends that all like doing the same things. The word takes on a new meaning when a group of friends gets involved in criminal activity.  Although it is not illegal to be a member of a gang, much of the activity that criminal street gangs get caught up in is for example – drug dealing, violence and abuse.

Gang Rape

Gang rape or ‘gang banging’ is when a group of people rape one person. The victim of the rape is often younger than the group and is often drugged with drugs or alcohol. This type of rape is sometimes linked to gang initiation ceremonies where potential gang members have to rape someone to be allowed into the gang.

GBH (Grievous Bodily Harm) or serious assault - means you’ve caused someone serious injury, e.g. a broken bone or stab wound. It’s more serious than ABH (Actual bodily harm) and means you could receive a life sentence if found guilty.

*Known under Scottish law as 'Assault to injury/ severe injury.'

Going Equipped

If you are stopped by the police and you have a tool on you such as a screwdriver or a crowbar you could be accused of going equipped to steal. 

The police will then need to prove that the item you have with you is an item that you intend to use to commit a theft or burglary.  Depending on the circumstances and any previous criminal history you could receive a community order or a maximum prison sentence of up to three years.


Graffiti is when you scratch, paint or mark someone else’s property and is a form of criminal damage. On-the-spot fines of £50 can be given to anyone caught doing graffiti on public property. These can be given out by police officers, community support officers or local authority officials.

Grooming is the name given to the process that an abuser will use to control someone, it can happen both in person or online. By building an emotional connection with the victim the abuser gains their trust. This could then lead to further manipulation, sexual abuse or exploitation. This is the first step to child sexual exploitation. Groomers can get up to 10 years in prison.

Guns can be used in a number of different types of crimes and are used to scare, injure and kill people. Crimes like robberies, hostage situations and murders can all involve guns. If you are caught hiding/holding a gun for someone else you could be convicted and given a sentence up to five years in prison.

If you are looking after, transporting, selling or passing on any item that you know is stolen you could be found guiltly of Handling Stolen Goods. The punishment for this offence would depend on how valuable the items are and by how involved you were.

*Known under Scottish law as 'Reset.' 


Harassment is when you act in a way to make someone feel distressed or threatened. It could be someone from school, people from your local area or a complete stranger. Harrasment can include things like ongoing abuse & bullying online or more physical things like smashing windows or damaging cars. Often, if carried out repeatedly, it will lead to offenders being charged with a more serious offence.

Hate Crime is when you commit a crime against someone because you are prejudice against a person or an entire community’s individuality. This could be as a result of their religion, race, sexual orientation or disability.

You could be accused of committing hate crime if you send nasty emails or social networking messages that are making fun of a person’s individuality.  It can also include people becoming physically aggressive to someone because of the same reasons, recently this can be seen as acid attacks. 

Hate Crime offenders can be sentenced for a minimum of 1 year in prison. 

This is the name given to people who are prejudice against gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) people. Prejudice means that an individual or group has hatred, intolerance and often fear against a particular group of people. This could lead to them committing homophobic crime for example, attacking, assaulting or bullying someone just because the person is LGBT.


Hooliganism is disruptive or unlawful behaviour such as rioting, bullying or vandalism and is often associated with football. Groups known as 'firms’, who support different teams, arrange to meet each other to fight. Football Banning Orders - are designed to stop troublemakers from travelling to football matches. The punishments for breaking the rules of these orders can be 6 months in prison or a £5,000 fine.

Housebreaking is the act of breaking into another person's house with unlawful intent.

Trafficking is another word for modern day slavery and is the name given to people who are bought and sold into exploitation. It is the selling and buying of people across countries borders and to different communities for profit.  Human trafficking can happen to anyone; men, women or children.

There also many different types of trafficking some of which are: organ harvesting, forced labour and domestic servitude. Globally trafficking is considered the 3rd most common crime in the world behind Drugs and Guns.


Hustling has a couple of different meanings. Criminally it means to make money illegally - for example, selling drugs or dealing in stolen goods. Sentencing would depend on the actual crime commited.

Identity Theft
Identity theft is when someone steals your personal information without your consent, this can then lead to identity fraud were someone will use your information for financial gain such as ordering goods in your name, taking out mobile phone contracts etc. Identity theft is a criminal offence and could result in a fine or a prison sentence.

Incest is when you have sex with a close member of your biological family, e.g. brother, sister, parent or grandparent. If you commit incest, you could face up to 14 years in prison. If it involves an adult and a child, it’s even more serious and can count as paedophilia.

Internet crime

See Cyber crime.

Joint Enterprise

The law generally only holds offenders liable for their own actions but, under joint enterprise, you could be found guilty for another person’s crime.
Usually used in gang related murder cases, Joint enterprise is often used to convict all members of the gang even when it’s not clear who actually murdered the victim.



Joyriding is the act of driving fast and dangerously in a stolen car for enjoyment. Joyriders tend to be aged between 16 and 25, but are sometimes as young as 10. If you are found guilty you could face a prison sentence or a fine. If you already have a driving licence you could receive a ban from driving.

Kidnapping is when you take someone away and hold them against their will, this is usually done by force and is a very serious offence. The  maximum  sentence you could receive for kidanapping is life imprisonment. One infamous kidnapping case is the case of Madeleine McCann which is still unresolved.

Knife crime includes any crimes that involve the use of a sharpened weapon or blade. It is illegal to sell or buy a knife to anyone who is under 18yrs old. Carrying a weapon to protect yourself is still a crime in the eyes of the law and in fact you are much more likely to become a victim of knife crime if you carry one.

Possession of a knife can carry a prison sentence of up to 4 years (5 years in Scotland) even if it's not used.

Please visit our knife crime page HERE


Drugs containing one or more chemical substances that produce similar effects to drugs like cocaine, cannabis and ecstasy – formerly known as 'legal highs'

New laws surrounding legal highs came in to force in May 2016. The Psychoactive Substances Act will ban the production, supply, distribution and sale of legal highs. There are also tougher sentences of up to seven years for offenders.

There’s no penalty for possession, unless you’re in prison

Manslaughter is when you kill someone by accident e.g. throwing a brick off a bridge causing a car to crash which kills the driver. You could receive maximum life sentence if found guilty and depending on the circumstances.

*Known under Scottish law as 'Culpable homicide.' 

A money mule is someone who allows fraudsters to use their bank account to transfer illegal money in exchange for cash - this is a form of money laundering and is illegal.
If  caught, you could face prison, as well as future difficulties with finances, such as having your bank account closed and finding it difficult to apply for credit in the future.

Murder is when you kill someone on purpose, e.g. stabbing them. It’s more serious if you plan it in advance and it carries a maximum life sentence in prison if you’re found guilty.

Nitrous oxide also known as 'Balloons' 'Laughing gas' 'Hippie crack' is a gas that people inhale usually via a balloon.
It is covered by the Psychoactive Substances Act and is illegal to sell or give away.
You could receive up to 7 years in prison, an unlimited fine or both for supply and production.
Unless you’re in prison. there is no penalty for possesion.


Nuisance calls are calls that are not threatening or offensive, but they cause annoyance or anxiety to the victim, such as silent calls or calls at unsociable hours. Making nuisance calls is not an offence but if they are causing stress to the victim the police may consider investigating them as harassment.

Obscene Content

Obscene content is when you have words or images on a site (or social media profile) that could offend other people, eg; racist words that could encourage hatred of others. This also includes sending images on your phone, even if they’re images of you (known as sexting) which could also end up online.

Offensive weapons

Please see (K) Knife crime 

Paedophilia is when an adult has or wants to have sex with children who haven’t reached puberty. It’s illegal for adults to have sex with children, under the age of 16, or even to try to have sex with them. It’s also a crime to take photos or record sex with children. Paedophilia is a really serious crime and the punishment can be life in prison.

Prostitution is when you buy or sell sex for money or in exchange for something else like drugs. You don’t have to buy or sell sex to be guilty of prostitution, hanging about on street corners trying to sell sex still counts.

Prostitution is closely linked to other types of crime including drugs, human trafficking, paedophilia and violence. Buying or selling sex isn’t illegal but trying to is, e.g. advertising it or driving around looking for it. If you’re involved in prostitution, you could get up to 7 years in prison.

Many people think racial hate crime is about committing crimes against people because of the colour of their skin – whilst this is true it also includes things such as people’s culture, nationality and even their language. Like all hate crimes the police will treat crimes fuelled by racism more seriously. For example, writing insulting graffiti on someone’s property, attacking or assaulting or bullying someone (online or in person) just because of their nationality.

Radicalisation is the process where someone has been influenced to adopt extreme religious, social or political views and will usually support terrorism and violent acts.

This is when somone sexually penetrates another person without their given consent. This also applies when sexual activity happens with someone who is below the age of 13 years (even if they have agreed to it) This is because anyone this age and younger cannot legally give consent to any sexual activity. If convicted, the offender faces life imprisonment. 

Revenge Porn is when you share private sexual photos or videos, of another person usually an ex-boyfriend/girlfriend, without their consent to upset them.  It is a criminal offence and those found guilty could be sentenced for up to two years in prison.


Rioting is the act to take part in any violent public disturbance. This includes fighting in the streets, violent public disorder and vandalisim, it is usually caused by a group or a large crowd of people. Rioting is a serious offence which is likely to result in a fine or prison sentence.

Robbery is when you use or threaten to use force to steal and is considered more serious than theft. Sentencing for robbery is dependent on the type of robbery committed.  For example; commiting a violent robbery using a weapon would mean that you would receive a much longer sentence.

Sexting is when someone sends or receives a sexually explicit text, image or video.  This includes sending ‘nude pics’, ‘rude pics’, or ‘nude selfies’.  Taking, possessing or sharing a sexually explicit picture or video of someone under 18 is against the law. It doesn’t matter if they gave you permission, someone else sent it to you, you’ve never met them before, you are under 18 too or it’s a selfie. You and anyone else involved could be investigated by the police, and this could even affect your future education and employment.

If you are over 18 and you send an image of yourself to someone who is also over 18, this is not a crime. However, you should consider the other consequences of sending and sharing images.

When someone uses sexual images/videos that you have produced of yourself to bribe you for money by threatening share these images/videos with your friends of family or publishing them online.

They usually get these videos by creating fake online accounts and grooming victims into sharing content with them.

This occurs when someone purposefully touches someone else in a sexual way, without that person's consent.  This can be touching somone on any part of their body in a sexual way without them agreeing to be touched in that way. This is very serious and punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

Shoplifting is a type of theft. It is when you steal items from a shop without paying for them. If you are caught shoplifting you will almost certainly be banned from ever shopping at that store again! You may also be given a Civil Recovery Notice – this note is from the shop and outlines how they plan to recover the money that they have lost through your actions. People ages 16+ may also face a £80 fixed fine called a Fixed Penalty ticket.

Stalking is repeated, unwanted and obsessive behaviour from another person that makes you feel scared and upset. This can include watching/following you, messaging/ calling you and threatening to hurt you or your family. The maximum sentence if found guilty of stalking is 5 years in prison.

Statutory rape

This is when someone over the age of 16 engages in a sexual act with someone under 16. If the person is under 13 (also know as 'Rape of a child under 13') then it’s even more serious. The maximum sentence for statutory rape is life in prison.

Substance Misuse

Substance abuse is defined as the continued misuse of any mind-altering substance that severely affects a person's physical and mental health​. This can be caused by illegal or legal substances.

Terrorism is the use or threat of action to intimidate and/or harm the public.  The reasons people commit terrorist acts are for the purpose of advancing a political, religious, racial or ideological cause. 
Is someone close becoming a stranger?

It can be hard to know what to do if you’re worried someone close is expressing extreme views or hatred, which could lead to them harming themselves or others. Working with other organisations, the police protect vulnerable people from being exploited by extremists through a Home Office programme called Prevent.

Act early and tell us your concerns in confidence. You won’t be wasting our time and you won’t ruin lives, but you might save them.


Theft is taking something that isn’t yours e.g. shoplifting or stealing someone’s mobile phone. The more valuable the item you steal, the more trouble you’ll be in. Theft is more serious if you plan it beforehand. The maximum sentence for theft is 7 years

'Upskirting' is a sexual offence. It is where someone takes a picture or video under another persons clothing without their consent with the intention of viewing their private parts (with or without underwear). The maximum sentence for 'Upskirting' is two years. 



Vandalism is damaging or destroying something that isn’t yours. You don’t need to damage something to be found guilty of vandalism you could be caught carrying a brick with the intention to throw it through a window or threatening to damage someone’s property. Vandalism is a criminal offence and depending on the amount of damage done you could receive either a fine or a prison sentence.

This includes any situation where someone uses violence or threatens to use violence against a victim. Violence can be part of a number of different crimes including robbery, assault and gang crime. Recently, acid attacks have been used as a form of violence specifically throughout London. 


It’s an offence to carry a knife or a gun, even if it is an imitation you will be arrested and could be prosecuted. Using a weapon whilst committing a crime is considered more serious and you are much likely to receive a longer sentence.


Xenophobia is having a fear or extreme dislike of foreign people, their customs, religion, culture etc. Whilst it is not a crime to be Xenophobic, if you commit a crime motivated by xenophobia that would be considered a hate crime which is a criminal offence.