Strategic Intervention Outline: Crime Statistics – Summary of Approach

Background

The independent regulatory function of the Authority has had 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 plan to do 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 experts have told us about some gaps and shortcomings (e.g. 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.

How we will do it

  • Strand 1: Continuing our work with statistical producers – we will review progress on actions emerging from the 2015 seminar and on improving the quality of Police Recorded Crime Statistics in England and Wales and in Scotland and will continue with assessments and compliance checks of specific crime statistics. This will include publishing an Interim Report in Summer 2016 looking at progress towards improving the quality of police crime recording and re-designating statistics on Police Recorded Crime in England and Wales.
  • Strand 2: Discovery Phase: – we will add to our understanding of the questions that others are asking about crime, policing and the criminal justice system; identifying whether the current suite of crime statistics meets these needs and how we as regulator might best intervene to bring about change. This work will involve expert discussions with a range of stakeholders as well as review of crime statistics internationally and across the
  • Strand 3: Follow-up interventions: – we will identify where we can best use our regulatory voice and powers to convene to achieve improvements in crime statistics

What we want to happen as a result

That crime statistics provide accurate and appropriate information and sufficient insight for those who use them to make decisions, and anticipate the needs of the future

Timing

Work with statistical producers is ongoing. The ‘Discovery phase’ will report in September 2016 and follow up interventions will then be planned which may run over several years.

Contact for more information:

Pat MacLeod

pat.macleod@statistics.gov.uk

020 7592 8657