Crime Statistics Strategic Intervention – Update – October 2016

Aim

Our vision for crime statistics is that they provide accurate and appropriate information and sufficient insight for those who use them to make decisions, and that statisticians in this field, anticipate the needs of the future.

Background

We have a strong record of publicly challenging the status quo in crime statistics. Previous work has focused on the trust that the public can have in crime statistics and the quality of the underlying data that is used to compile them. Building on these foundations, determining the value that the wider suite of statistics on crime and policing add to public debate is critical. In June 2015, the Authority hosted a crime statistics seminar in London to discuss ‘what improvements can be made within the existing crime statistics framework, and how we might begin to capture crimes that currently fall outside the scope of this framework’. This project builds upon what we learnt from that seminar.

What we are doing and why

The UK is recognised as an international leader in crime statistics. Recently we, and others, have had concerns about the quality of statistics on police recorded crime in some parts of the UK. And people have told us about some gaps and shortcomings (such as a lack of data to help in understanding the scale of domestic violent crimes in the context of all violent crimes and limited availability of data at local levels). There are changes to what society defines as crime – for example with the rise of cyber crime – the context in which it happens, who deals with it and how. We think that crime statistics should develop to reflect these changes and will use our influence to support that development.

Our interest in crime statistics includes crime; people and organisations – as victims and offenders and those who operate within the criminal justice system – and the system itself and how individuals and crimes flow through it.

Strand 1: Continuing our work with statistical producers our work continues with producers to improve the value of specific crime statistics. The National Statistics status of Police Recorded Crime Statistics in Scotland was re-instated in September 2016 following evidence from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary of sustained improvement in the quality of crime recording in Police Scotland. We look forward to hearing more about the progress that is being made on improving the quality of police crime recording in England and Wales; we expect to hear more about this by the end of 2016. We are pleased to see that ONS has introduced estimates of the extent of fraud and cybercrime derived from the Crime Survey for England and Wales in July 2016 and is changing the way it counts repeat victimisation as part of its estimates of crime, including domestic violence. We will complete our assessments of the trustworthiness, quality and value of the Scottish Crime and Justice Survey and the Northern Ireland Crime Survey in 2017.

Strand 2: Discovery Phase – in the period June to September 2016 we undertook work with a small number of stakeholders in the UK to add to our understanding of the questions others were asking about crime, policing and the criminal justice system and learn the extent to which the current suite of crime statistics meets user needs. These stakeholders included academics, journalists and others who are re-using crime statistics to increase understanding of crime and crime prevention or to interpret them for a wider audience. We also reviewed crime statistics internationally to identify potential areas for further development. We used this work to take a systemic view of crime statistics in the UK and identified a number of areas where the system of crime statistics could provide additional public value.

Strand 3: Follow-up interventions – Crime is changing and we consider it is important that statistics continue to reflect the real world; undoubtedly there are challenges to doing this. We identified a clear demand for statistics that join-up across the system, yet the separation of government and organisations in England and Wales often mean that this is not the case. And we think that more work could be done across the UK to make sure crime statistics achieve similar public value in all administrations. We will use our voice and our powers to convene to start a series of conversations on how best to achieve this, involving producers and the different user communities.

We will convene roundtable discussions early in 2017 to explore some of these issues. We will post more information on the roundtables on this page as our plans develop.

If you are interested in contributing to our work – either through the roundtables or in some other way – or would like to receive an alert as more information becomes available, please get in touch.

Contact for more information:

Pat MacLeod

pat.macleod@statistics.gov.uk

020 7592 8657