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Trends in crime are reported annually in the Home Office statistical bulletin ‘Crime in England and Wales’. This uses data from the British Crime Survey (BCS) and crimes recorded by the police. These two sources provide a more comprehensive picture than could be obtained from either series alone.

Publications

An Overview of Hate Crime in England and Wales
Department: Home Office
This is an Official Statistics bulletin produced by statisticians in the Home Office, Ministry of Justice and the Office for National Statistics, which brings together, for the first time, a range of official statistics from across the crime and criminal justice system, providing an overview of hate crime in England and Wales.The report is structured to highlight: the victim experience; recording and detecting the crimes and how the various criminal justice agencies deal with an offender once identified, for different strands of hate crime.
Average time from arrest to sentence for persistent young offenders, England and Wales
Department: Justice
The monthly release presents figures derived from the Police National Computer on the time taken to bring persistent young offenders to justice. This release monitors the 1997 pledge to halve the arrest to sentence time for this offender group (from 142 to 71 days) in England and Wales and all Criminal Justice Areas.
Crime Outcomes in England and Wales
Department: Home Office
Crime outcomes recorded by police forces in England and Wales, (previously 'Crimes Detected in England and Wales').
Crime Statistics
Department: Office for National Statistics
Crime statistics from the Crime Survey for England and Wales and police recorded crime.
Crime against business premises
Department: Home Office
Statistics on extent of crime against businesses in the manufacturing, retail, transport and storage and accommodation and food industry sectors taken from the Commercial Victimisation Survey.
Crime in England and Wales: Annual report
Department: Home Office
Presents the financial year crime statistics from the British Crime Survey and police recorded crime.
Crime in England and Wales: Quarterly report
Department: Home Office
Presents the most recent crime statistics from the British Crime Survey and police recorded crime. Responsibility for the compilation and publication of crime statistics for England and Wales will transfer from the Home Office to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) on 1 April 2012, as announced by the Home Secretary in July 2011. The ONS will publish for the first time on 19 April 2012. If you have any queries regarding the transfer please contact the ONS on crimestatistics@ONS.gsi.gov.uk
Crime in England and Wales: Supplementary Volume 1
Department: Home Office
Reports on additional analysis of crime data not included in the main 'Crime in England and Wales' publication.
Crime in England and Wales: Supplementary Volume 2
Department: Home Office
Detailed analysis of police recorded homicides and firearms offences.
Crime in England and Wales: Supplementary Volume 3
Department: Home Office
Reports on additional analysis of crime data not included in the main 'Crime in England and Wales' publication.
Crime in Wales
Department: Welsh Government
This Statistical Bulletin presents information on Crime in Wales.
Crimes Detected in England and Wales
Department: Home Office
Statistics on the levels and trends in detections and detection rates in England and Wales. From July 2014, ' Crimes Detected in England and Wales’ has been re-named as ‘Crime Outcomes in England and Wales’
Criminal Statistics Annual Report, England and Wales
Department: Justice
The annual release, presented on a calendar year basis, covers offenders dealt with by formal police cautions, reprimands or warning, or criminal court proceedings in England and Wales. The order of chapters follows the flow of cases through the criminal justice system. As in previous years, more detailed data for the calendar year covered are published separately in six volumes of supplementary tables.
Digest of Information on the Northern Ireland Criminal Justice System
Department: Justice (Northern Ireland)
The aim of the digest is to present, in a user-friendly way, a comprehensive picture of key developments and key statistics relating to crime and justice in Northern Ireland.
Experience of Crime: Findings from the Northern Ireland Crime Survey
Department: Justice (Northern Ireland)
Findings from the Northern Ireland Crime Survey focusing on crime victimisation and prevalence rates in both Northern Ireland and England & Wales.
Hate crimes, England and Wales
Department: Home Office
Hate crimes, England and Wales
Measuring National Well-being
Department: Office for National Statistics
Measures of National Well-being. Drawing social and economic data from government and other organisations; painting a picture of UK society and how it changes.
Metal theft in England and Wales
Department: Home Office
Metal theft recorded by police forces in England and Wales.
New Criminal Offences, England and Wales
Department: Justice
Annual publication of the number of new criminal offences created each year.
Operation of police powers under the Terrorism Act 2000: arrests, outcomes and stops & searches: Quarterly Report
Department: Home Office
This report brings together statistical material relating to the Terrorism Act 2000 and subsequent legislation, including arrests and their outcomes, as well breakdowns of stops and searches made under the powers of the Terrorism Act 2000.
Perceptions of Crime: Findings from the Northern Ireland Crime Survey
Department: Justice (Northern Ireland)
Findings from the Northern Ireland Crime Survey focusing on experiences and perceptions of crime in both Northern Ireland and England & Wales.
Police Service Northern Ireland Annual Statistics: Recorded Crime in Northern Ireland
Department: Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI)
Financial Year statistics on Recorded Crime in Northern Ireland.
Scottish Crime and Justice Survey Report
Department: Scottish Government
High Level Summary of Statistics Trends for Crime and Justice
Scottish Crime and Justice Survey: Fires in Scotland
Department: Scottish Government
Statistical bulletin providing a detailed overview of Scottish fire statistics over the past decade, at a brigade and Scotland level.
Statistical Focus on Crime in Wales
Department: Welsh Government
This publication presents a range of statistics relating to crime.
Statistics on football-related arrests and football banning orders
Department: Home Office
Annual release of statistics for football-related arrests and football banning orders, for the football season. Breakdowns provided are by offence, club supported, overseas arrests and arrests by location (inside/outside stadium).
Violence at Work
Department: Health and Safety Executive
latest statistics on work related violence and its component parts, threats and physical assault

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Overview

For the crime types it covers, the British Crime Survey (BCS) is the best guide to long-term trends because its methodology has remained the same since the survey began in 1981 and is unaffected by changes in levels of reporting to the police, or in police recording practices.

Police recorded crime statistics provide a good measure of well-reported crimes, are an important indicator of police workload, and can be used for local crime pattern analysis. Recorded crime statistics provide the only measure of homicide and a more reliable measure of relatively rare crimes such as robbery. However, they do not include crimes that have not been reported to the police or incidents that the police decide not to record.

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Technical Data

British Crime Survey

The British Crime Survey (BCS) is a nationally representative survey with an achieved sample of approximately 47,000 adults living in private households in England and Wales each year. It is a face-to-face victimisation survey in which respondents are asked about their experiences of crime in the 12 months prior to their interview. They are also asked about their perceptions of crime and crime-related topics, such as anti-social behaviour and the police. It includes household crimes such as vehicle-related thefts and burglary, and personal crimes such as assaults.

For the crime types it covers, the BCS provides the best measure of the extent of crime because it includes crimes that are not reported to the police and crimes which are not recorded by them. The BCS is also the main source of data on perceptions of crime, anti-social behaviour and attitudes to the criminal justice system (CJS).

As a survey of members of the public living in private households, the BCS does not cover commercial victimisation, for example, thefts from businesses and shops, and frauds. The BCS also excludes crimes termed as ‘victimless (for example, possession of drugs) and so, as a victim-based survey, murders are not included. The BCS does not currently cover crimes against people aged under 16 or those in communal establishments.

One of the key recommendations of the crime statistics reviews, carried out in 2006, was that the BCS should be extended to include populations currently not covered by the survey. As a result, the Home Office is extending the BCS to cover under 16s from January 2009.

Police recorded crime

Crime data are collected from police forces on a monthly basis for each crime within the notifiable offence list. Notifiable offences include all offences that could possibly be tried by jury (these include some less serious offences, such as minor theft that would not usually be dealt with this way) plus a few extra closely related offences, such as assault without injury.

Police recording practice is governed by Home Office Counting Rules for Recorded Crime and the National Crime Recording Standard (NCRS). The NCRS was introduced in all police forces in April 2002 to ensure better consistency of crime recording. Police recorded crime statistics, like any administrative data, will be affected by the rules governing the recording of data, systems in place and operational decisions in respect of the allocation of resources. It should be noted that more proactive policing in a given area could lead to an increase in crimes recorded without any real change in underlying crime trends. Trends in police recorded crime need to be interpreted in this light.

It is estimated that around 42 per cent of all BCS crime is reported to the police. The degree to which crimes are reported and recorded varies according to individual offence types. Thefts of vehicles and burglaries in which something was stolen are most likely to be reported, while crimes such as vandalism, assault without injury and theft from the person are least likely. Key factors as to whether property crime is reported are perceived seriousness and whether property is insured.

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Glossary

  • Acquisitive crime

    A British Crime Survey (BCS) offence group that covers all household and personal crime where items are stolen. Household acquisitive crime includes: burglary and attempted burglary in a dwelling; theft in a dwelling; theft from outside a dwelling; theft and attempted theft of and from vehicles; and theft of pedal cycles (see burglary, theft in a dwelling, vehicle-related theft and bicycle theft). Personal acquisitive crime includes: snatch theft from the person; other theft from the person; attempted theft from the person; other theft; other attempted theft; robbery; and attempted robbery.

  • Arson

    Deliberately setting fire to property including buildings and vehicles. In the BCS this is any deliberate damage to property belonging to the respondent or their household caused by fire, regardless of the property involved. For vehicle crime, if a vehicle is stolen and later found deliberately burnt out by the same offender, one crime of theft of a vehicle is recorded by the police and in the BCS. If there is evidence that someone unconnected with the theft committed the arson, then an offence of arson is recorded by the police in addition to the theft. For the BCS, only an offence of theft of a vehicle would be recorded (see vandalism).

  • Assault with minor injury and with no injury

    In the BCS, an assault with minor injury is one where the victim was punched, kicked, pushed or jostled and the incident resulted in minor injury to the victim, for example, minor scratches or bruises. An assault with no injury includes similar incidents (or attempts) which resulted in no injury to the victim. These categories replace the BCS category of common assault, which has been used in previous publications. Assault on a constable is a separate category within recorded crime; however, such incidents are not treated separately for the BCS and would fall within the BCS assault with minor injury or without injury categories.

  • Attempted burglary

    An attempted burglary is recorded by the police and in the BCS if there is clear evidence that the offender made an actual, physical attempt to gain entry to a building (for example, damage to locks or broken doors) but was unsuccessful. This offence type combines with burglary with entry to comprise total burglary in the BCS.

  • Bicycle theft

    This does not include every bicycle theft, as some may be stolen during the course of another offence and are therefore classified as such by the police and in the British Crime Survey (BCS). The BCS covers thefts of bicycles belonging to the respondent or any other member of the household. Bicycle thefts are recorded by the BCS if no attempt was made to steal anything else. It is classed as: a burglary – if anything else was stolen, or an attempt was made to steal something else, from the household’s dwelling; a theft in a dwelling – when a bicycle is stolen from inside a house by someone who was not trespassing; and a theft from a vehicle – if the bicycle is one of a number of things stolen.

  • Burglary

    An offence of burglary is recorded by the police if a person enters any building as a trespasser and with intent to commit an offence of theft, grievous bodily harm or unlawful damage. The BCS covers domestic burglary only, which is an unauthorised entry into the victim’s dwelling. Burglary does not necessarily involve forced entry; it may be through an open window, or by entering the property under false pretences (for example, impersonating an official). Burglary does not cover theft by a person who is entitled to be in the dwelling at the time of the offence (see theft in a dwelling). The dwelling is defined as a house, flat or any connected outhouse or garage.

  • Burglary with entry

    This term is used in the BCS and comprises burglary where a building was successfully entered, regardless of whether something was stolen or not. This offence type combines with attempted burglary to comprise total burglary.

  • Burglary with loss

    This term is used in the BCS and comprises burglary where a building was successfully entered and something was stolen. This offence type combines with burglary with no loss (including attempts) to comprise total burglary.

  • Burglary with no loss (including attempts)

    In the British Crime Survey (BCS) this includes attempted entry to a property and cases where a property was entered but nothing was stolen. In making comparisons with police recorded crime, BCS burglary with no loss (including attempts) is used as a proxy for attempted burglary, though there will be some instances with no loss where entry has been gained. This offence type combines with burglary with loss to comprise total burglary.

  • Calibration weighting

    Calibration weighting is used on the BCS and is designed to make adjustments for known differentials in response rates between different age by sex subgroups and households with different age and sex composition. For example, a household containing a 24-year-old male living alone may be less likely to respond to the survey than a household containing a 24-year-old male living with a young partner and a child. The procedure, therefore, gives different weights to different household types based on their age/sex composition in such a way that the weighted distribution of individuals in the responding households matches the known distribution in the population as a whole.

  • Common assault

    In the BCS, the previously used common assault (or attempted assault) category, which had been inconsistent with the police recorded offence category, was replaced with assault with minor injury and assault with no injury categories in 2006/07. This change was made to align BCS categories more closely with those used by the police.

  • Confidence interval

    Surveys produce statistics that are estimates of the real figure for the population under study. These estimates are always surrounded by a margin of error of plus or minus a given range. The confidence intervals for a particular statistic provide a range of values around that statistic where the ‘true’ (population) statistic is located with a given level of certainty. Confidence intervals can also be constructed for changes in estimates between years of the BCS and for differences between population subgroups (see the definition of statistical significance).

  • Counting rules

    Instructions issued to the police by the Home Office on how the police should count and classify crime. Recorded crime figures in this publication are based on the counting rules that came into force on 1 April 1998. These rules were updated following the introduction on 1 April 2002 of the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) National Crime Recording Standard devised by ACPO in collaboration with Home Office statisticians.

  • Criminal damage

    Criminal damage results from any person who, without lawful excuse, destroys or damages any property belonging to another, intending to destroy or damage any such property or being reckless as to whether any such property would be destroyed or damaged. Separate recorded crime figures exist for criminal damage to a dwelling, to a building other than a dwelling, to a vehicle and other criminal damage. In the British Crime Survey (BCS), criminal damage is referred to as vandalism; that is any intentional damage done to property belonging to the respondent, or to their home or vehicle (see Arson, Vandalism and Vehicle vandalism).

  • Domestic burglary - burglary in a dwelling

    The BCS only covers domestic burglary while police recorded crime covers both commercial and domestic burglary (see Burglary).

  • Fraud

    For offences prior to 15 January 2007, fraud is defined as dishonestly deceiving to obtain either property or a pecuniary advantage. For offences after 15 January 2007, fraud is defined as dishonestly making a false representation to obtain property or money for themselves or another.

  • Homicide

    Comprises the recorded crimes of murder, manslaughter and infanticide. The published figures do not separately identify between these categories since at the time an offence is recorded by the police, the circumstances surrounding the offence may not necessarily be known. Whether an offence is murder or manslaughter may be decided once an offender has been apprehended and appeared in court. The BCS, by its nature (that is, being reliant on victim interviews), cannot include homicide.

  • Identity fraud

    The Home Office Identity Fraud Steering Group defines identity (ID) fraud as occuring when a false identity or someone else’s identity details are used to support unlawful activity, or when someone avoids obligation/liability by falsely claiming that he/she was the victim of ID fraud. ID fraud also includes fraud that results directly from a known crime, such as subsequent use of a stolen credit card, rather than obtaining someone’s identity through deception, or manufacturing a false identity.

  • Interfering with a motor vehicle

    This mostly includes recorded crime offences where there is evidence of intent to commit either theft of or from a vehicle or taking without consent (TWOC), but there is either (i) no evidence of intent to commit one of these three offences specifically, or (ii) there is evidence of intent to commit TWOC. TWOC is a summary offence but, under the provisions of the Criminal Attempts Act 1981, it is not legally valid to have an attempted summary offence.

  • Mugging

    This is a type of British Crime Survey (BCS) violence. It is a popular rather than a legal term, comprising robbery, attempted robbery, and snatch theft from the person. Police recorded crime does not separately record the small category of snatch theft, this being part of the police recorded crime category of theft from the person. Snatch thefts are also excluded from all violence in the BCS.

  • National Crime Recording Standard (NCRS)

    Instigated by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), with the collaboration of Home Office statisticians, it aims to promote greater consistency between police forces in the recording of crime and to take a more victim-orientated approach to crime recording. Under the NCRS, where a member of the public reports a crime the police must record it providing ‘there is no credible evidence to the contrary’. Although some forces adopted the Standard early, it was officially introduced across England and Wales on 1 April 2002, though audits indicated that in some forces it took two to three years to be implemented.

  • Offences against vehicles

    A police recorded crime group which includes offences of aggravated vehicle taking, theft of a motor vehicle, theft from a vehicle and interfering with a motor vehicle (formerly termed interference and tampering). Attempted theft of and theft from offences are included in the substantive offence.

  • Other household theft

    A BCS category of household offences covering thefts and attempted thefts from, for example, domestic garages, outhouses or sheds not directly linked to the dwelling, as well as thefts from both inside and outside a dwelling (excluding thefts of milk bottles from the doorstep). This category is not in the comparable subset of crimes. In principle, it could be in the comparable subset, but the number of offences is small and therefore, changes over time are unreliable. The category of theft in a dwelling is included here.

  • Other theft of personal property

    A BCS offence category referring to theft of personal property away from the home (for example, handbags from offices), where there was no direct contact between the offender and victim. Only the respondent can be the victim of this crime category. This category is not in the comparable subset of crimes.

  • Racially or religiously aggravated offences

    Used in recorded crime, racially aggravated offences are legally defined under the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 (section 28). The Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001 (section 39) added the religiously aggravated aspect. Racially or religiously aggravated offences cannot be separately identified in police recorded crime. BCS respondents are asked whether they thought the incident was racially motivated, and from 2005/06 whether they thought the incident was religiously motivated. Figures on racially and religiously motivated crimes from the 2005/06 and 2006/07 BCS are reported in Jansson et al. 2007.

  • Recorded crime

    Police recorded crime covers crimes which are recorded by the police and which are notified to the Home Office. All indictable and triable-either-way offences are included together with certain closely associated summary offences. Attempts are also included.

  • Robbery

    An incident or offence in which force or the threat of force is used either during or immediately prior to a theft or attempted theft. Recorded crime offences distinguish between robbery of personal property and business property. Robbery of business property is a recorded crime classification where goods stolen belong to a business or other corporate body (such as a bank or a shop), regardless of the location of the robbery. If there is no use or threat of force, an offence of theft from the person is recorded (this would be classified in the BCS as snatch theft, which together with robbery comprises the BCS mugging category).

  • Sampling error

    A sample, as used in the British Crime Survey (BCS), is a small-scale representation of the population from which it is drawn. As such, the sample may produce estimates that differ from the figures that would have been obtained if the whole population had been interviewed. The size of the error depends on the sample size, the size and variability of the estimate, and the design of the survey. It can be computed and used to construct confidence intervals. Sampling error is also taken into account in tests of statistical significance.

  • Sexual offences

    Prior to May 2004, there were 15 separate offences included in the recorded crime sexual offences group including the offences of rape and indecent assault. The Sexual Offences Act 2003, which came into force in May 2004, introduced several new offences and repealed some of those which were previously in the series. Because of the small number of sexual offences picked up by the BCS, the figures are too unreliable to report. The 1994 BCS, however, included a computer-assisted self-completion component on sexual victimisation to improve estimates, and similar modules were included in the 1998, 2000, 2001 and 2004/05 BCS. Wounding with a sexual nature is included in wounding.

  • Snatch theft

    Incidents reported to the BCS where an offender snatches property away from the victim (there may be an element of force involved but this is just enough to snatch the property away) and the victim was clearly aware of the incident as it happened. Snatch theft is included within the recorded crime category of theft from the person and is not separately identifiable in police recorded crime figures. See stealth thefts; thefts from the person in which the victim was not aware of what was happening and are included as such in the recorded crime figures.

  • Statistical significance

    Statistical significance is the probability that an observed difference or relationship in a sample occurred by chance, and that in the population no such difference or relationship exists. The BCS estimates are subject to sampling error, so differences between estimates from successive years of the survey or between population subgroups may occur by chance. Tests of statistical significance are used to identify which differences are unlikely to have occurred by chance. In this publication, tests at the five per cent significance level have been applied (the level at which there is a one in 20 chance of an observed difference being solely due to chance).

  • Stealth theft

    Thefts from the person which involve no force and where, unlike snatch theft, the victim was not aware of what was happening at the time. Stealth theft is included as part of the recorded crime theft from the person category and cannot be separately identified from snatch theft.

  • Stranger violence

    A type of British Crime Survey (BCS) violence, it includes assault with minor injury, assault with no injury and wounding, in which the victim did not have any information about the offender(s), or did not know and had never seen the offender(s) before.

  • Theft from the person

    Theft (including attempts) of, for example, a purse, wallet or cash directly from the person of the victim, but without physical force or the threat of it. One BCS component of theft from the person is snatch theft (there may be an element of force involved but this is just enough to snatch the property away), which is added to robbery to create a category of mugging. The other is stealth theft. Theft from the person exists as a separate police recorded crime category.

  • Theft in a dwelling

    This BCS classification includes thefts committed inside a home by someone who is entitled to be there at the time of the offence (for example, party guests or workmen). They are included in other household thefts.

  • Vandalism

    In the BCS, this is intentional and malicious damage to household property and equates to the recorded crime category of criminal damage. Vandalism shown in the BCS ranges from arson to graffiti. Vandalism to the home and other property involves intentional or malicious damage to doors, windows, fences, plants and shrubs for example. Vandalism to other property also includes arson where there is any deliberate damage to property belonging to the respondent or their household (including vehicles) caused by fire, regardless of the property involved. See Vehicle vandalism for details of what this covers.

  • Vehicle crime

    Recorded vehicle crimes include offences of theft of or from a vehicle, aggravated vehicle taking, vehicle interference and tampering, and criminal damage to a vehicle. Theft of a vehicle includes offences of theft of a vehicle and aggravated vehicle taking. Attempted thefts of a vehicle offences are also collected by the police. Theft from a vehicle includes attempts if there is evidence of intent to commit theft from a vehicle. Offences of interfering with a motor vehicle and criminal damage to a vehicle are also included. See also Vehicle-related theft, Offences against vehicles, and Vehicle vandalism.

  • Vehicle-related theft

    In the British Crime Survey (BCS) this covers (i) theft or unauthorised taking of a vehicle (where the vehicle is driven away illegally, whether or not it is recovered); (ii) theft from motor vehicles (that is, theft of parts, accessories and contents); and (iii) attempts. No distinction is made between attempted thefts of and attempted thefts from motor vehicles, as it is often very difficult to ascertain the offender’s intention. If parts or contents are stolen as well as the vehicle being moved, the incident is classified as theft of a motor vehicle. The BCS covers vehicle-related theft against private households only.

  • Vehicle vandalism

    Includes in the BCS, any intentional and malicious damage to a vehicle such as scratching a coin down the side of a car, or denting a car roof. It does not, however, include causing deliberate damage to a car by fire. These incidents are recorded as arson and are therefore, included in vandalism to other property. The BCS only covers vandalism against private households; that is, vehicles owned by any member of the household and company cars which count as belonging to the respondent. Recorded crime includes all vehicle vandalism under the offence classification of criminal damage to a motor vehicle.

  • Violence against the person

    A group of recorded crime offence classifications which is split into ‘Most serious violence against the person’ and ‘Other violence against the person’ offences. The ‘most serious’ subgroup comprises violent offences where the injury inflicted or intended is life threatening, and offences resulting in death, regardless of intent. ‘Other violence against the person’ includes offences involving less serious injury. It also includes certain offences that involve no physical injury, and some involving serious intent.

  • Weighted data

    Two types of weighting are used to ensure the representativeness of the BCS sample. Firstly, the raw data are weighted to compensate for unequal probabilities of selection. These include: the individual's chance of participation being inversely proportional to the number of adults living in the household; the over-sampling of smaller police force areas; and the selection of multi-household addresses. Secondly, calibration weighting is used to adjust for differential non-response.

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Contact Details

For statistical enquiries about this topic, please contact:

Crime Statistics

Email: crimestats.rds@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk

Telephone: +44 (0) 20 7035 6823

Crime Statistics Home Office Statistics 5th Floor Peel 2 Marsham Street London SW1P 4DF

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