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Comprises collections from the police in England and Wales on Arrests; operations under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE); breath tests; non-court sanctions for motoring offences; and the issue of firearm certificates.


Annual Racist Incident Statistics
Department: Home Office
Summary table of racist incidents by police force area.
Deaths during or following police contact: Statistics for England and Wales
Department: Independent Police Complaints Commission
The report presents figures on deaths during or following police contact which occurred in the reporting year. It provides a definitive set of figures for England and Wales and an overview of the nature and circumstances of these deaths.
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.
Domestic Abuse Recorded by the Police in Scotland
Department: Scottish Government
Characteristics of victims and perpetrators of domestic abuse incidents, reported to the police at a police force and Scotland level.
Firearm Certificates England and Wales
Department: Home Office
The number of firearm and shotgun certificates on issue on 31 March, new applications and renewals, numbers of registered firearms dealers, and numbers of permits issued.
Multi agency public protection arrangements annual report
Department: Justice
Statistics regarding various aspects of the delivery of Multi-agency public protection arrangements (MAPPA) in England and Wales.
Operation of Police Powers under the Terrorism Act 2000: arrests, outcomes and stops & searches
Department: Home Office
This report brings together statistical material relating to the Terrorism Act 2000 and subsequent legislation, including arrests and their outcomes, and stops and searches made under the powers of the Act.
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.
Police Powers and Procedures
Department: Home Office
Contains chapters on arrests, stop and search, fixed penalty notices and breath tests.
Racist incidents recorded by the police in Scotland
Department: Scottish Government
Characteristics of victims and perpetrators of racist incidents reported to the police at police force and Scotland level.
Recorded Crime and Offences Involving Firearms, Scotland
Department: Scottish Government
Crimes and offences in which a firearm was alleged to have been used or stolen over the past decade at police force and Scotland level.
Recorded Crime in Scotland
Department: Scottish Government
A detailed overview of crimes and offences recorded by the police over the past decade, for Scotland, police force areas and local authorities.

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The annual statistical bulletin Police Powers and Procedures England and Wales contains figures by police force area for the following subjects:

  • arrests, by offence group, gender and age of arrestee

  • stop and search under PACE and other legislation, by reason for search

  • stop and search in anticipation of violence, and in order to prevent terrorism

  • road checks
  • persons detained for more than 24 hours without charge

  • intimate searches

  • breath tests

  • fixed penalty notices for motoring offences

The annual statistical bulletin Firearms Certificates England and Wales contains figures on:

  • numbers of firearm and shotgun certificates on issue at the end of the year and the number of weapons covered by them

  • the application of successful (or otherwise) applications

  • the numbers of revocations

  • the numbers of licensed retailers

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Technical Data

Arrests for Notifiable Offences Data Quality

The statistics of arrests for recorded crime (notifiable offences) are based on aggregated returns made by the police. Since 1998/99 detailed information on arrests by sex, age group, offence category and ethnicity has been requested from the forces. 

Where a person has been arrested for one or more recorded crimes on the same occasion, the offence with the highest maximum penalty is recorded. A person will appear more than once in the tables if arrested on more than one occasion during the year. However, as with any data collection system, differences in recording practice (over time and across police force areas) can lead to an unknown degree of error.

Figures on arrests for recorded crime are not strictly comparable with published cautions and court proceedings data. This is mainly because the aggregated offence categories for notifiable offences do not directly compare with indictable (including triable-either-way) offence groups. In addition, court proceedings figures relate to the year of the final court decision, rather than the year of arrest, which may be different.

The Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE) Data Quality

The statistics in the Police Powers and Procedures England and Wales bulletin meet the requirements specified in PACE 1984 and are based on standard returns from each police force. As the police have become more familiar with PACE, the recording of stops and searches is likely to have become more complete, although some concerns remain. The use of other powers under PACE is generally infrequent and may lead to inadvertent failures to record these occurrences in the statistics.

Breath Tests: Legislation Affecting the Figures

Section 25 and schedule eight of the Transport Act 1981 amended the drinking and driving provisions in the Road Traffic Act 1972. The new measures took effect in May 1983 with the main change being the introduction of a new, faster method of measuring the concentration of alcohol in the body for evidential purposes by breath measurement. This streamlining of procedures was associated with an increase in the number of screening tests reported. These sections of the act were renumbered (but otherwise unchanged) in the Road Traffic Act 1988.

Screening Breath Tests

The police can require a person to take a screening breath test if they have reasonable cause to suspect that the person has:

  • been driving or attempting to drive with alcohol in his body (Section 6(1) of the Road Traffic Act 1988)

  • committed a moving traffic offence (Section 6(1))

  • been involved in an accident (Section 6(2))

A person failing to provide a breath test is guilty of an offence, unless there is a reasonable excuse.

Regulations on the Issue of Certificates and Permits

All people acquiring or in possession of a firearm or shotgun must have a certificate issued by the chief police officer of the police force area in which the person lives, unless they are otherwise exempt. People sentenced to any form of custody for a period of three years or more are prohibited from possessing firearms for life. Those sentenced to three months or more but less than three years are subject to a five-year prohibition from the date of their release.

Details of the legislation governing weapon possession appear in the annual National Statistics bulletin Firearm Certificates, England and Wales.

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  • Detention in police custody

    Under section 42 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE) detention in police custody before charge on the authority of a police officer is limited to 24 hours. If the alleged offence is an indictable one, the maximum is 36 hours. An officer of superintendent rank or above can authorise continued detention for up to 36 hours. If needed, an application can be made at a magistrates' court, which can issue a warrant of further detention up to 36 hours at a time. An extension can be applied for but cannot exceed 36 hours or permit the total period of detention to exceed 96 hours. Different rules apply in respect of arrests made under terrorism legislation.

  • Intimate searches

    Intimate searches involve a physical search of the body orifices, and therefore exclude strip searches. They may only be carried out if there are reasonable grounds for believing that a person who has been arrested and is detained may have concealed anything which could be used to cause physical injury. Also, in the case of suspected couriers or dealers only, a Class A drug (as defined in the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971). In the case of searches for drugs, a registered doctor or nurse can carry out the search. Searches for harmful articles are conducted by suitably qualified people. If this is not practicable, a constable will carry out the search.

  • Motor vehicle

    The term motor vehicle in the Motoring Offences bulletin means a mechanically propelled vehicle intended or adapted for use on roads and includes motorcycles, motor scooters, mechanically propelled invalid carriages, road rollers and tractors.

  • Notifiable offences

    Those crimes that are recorded by the police and notified to the Home Office. All indictable and triable-either-way offences are included together with a few closely associated summary offences. Also known as police recorded crime. The list of offences can be found in an appendix of the annual National Statistics bulletin, Crime in England and Wales. 

  • Road checks

    The Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE) did not grant any new power to set up a road check but sought to control the use of the existing powers of the Road Traffic Act 1972 (RTA). A road check is defined as the exercising of the power conferred by the RTA section 159 in such a way as to stop all vehicles selected by any criterion. The road check can only be authorised by an officer of superintendent rank or above. This has to be in writing (unless urgent) and must be to ascertain whether the vehicle was carrying a person who has committed an indictable offence, had witnessed one, was intending to commit one or was unlawfully at large.

  • Stops and searches

    Statutory powers exist under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE), Code A for a police officer to search a person or vehicle without first making an arrest. Other police powers not under PACE include stops and searches in anticipation of violence (under section 60 of Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994) and searches of pedestrians, vehicles and occupants (under sections 44(1) and 44(2) of the Terrorism Act 2000). Searches for drugs are still permitted by the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 and those for firearms under the Firearms Act 1968. Searches under various other powers are listed in the notes to the annual PACE and Arrests National Statistics bulletin.

  • Vehicle defect rectification scheme

    Introduced by police forces between 1982 and 1987. All schemes operate on similar principles and are designed to ensure that the defective vehicle which has come to police notice is either repaired or scrapped. Under the scheme the driver is offered the opportunity of repairing the defects or scrapping the vehicle and producing evidence of this to the police within a fixed period of time. The driver will not then be reported for prosecution.

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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

Home Office 2 Marsham Street London SW1P 4DF

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