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Data Sources and References This product is designated as National Statistics

Released: 09 May 2013 Download PDF

Data sources – further information

For detailed information about the statistical sources used here, refer to the User Guide to Crime Statistics for England and Wales (ONS, 2013).

Data Sources


The Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) is a face-to-face survey in which people resident in households in England and Wales are asked about their experiences of crime in the 12 months prior to the interview. In the year ending March 2012, the CSEW had a nationally representative sample of 46,031 adults and 3,930 children with response rates of 75% and 67% respectively. The survey is weighted to adjust for possible non-response bias and to ensure the sample reflects the profile of the general population. Being based on a sample survey, CSEW estimates are subject to a margin of error. Unless stated otherwise, all changes in CSEW estimates described in the main text are statistically significant at the 95 per cent level. For more information on statistical significance and confidence intervals for CSEW data, see Section 8 of the User Guide to Crime Statistics for England and Wales (ONS, 2013).

CSEW 10 to 15 year olds

Since January 2009, the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) has asked children aged 10 to 15 resident in households in England and Wales about their experience of crime in the previous 12 months. Methodological differences mean that direct comparisons cannot be made between the adult and child data (Crime in England and Wales, 2009/10).

Police recorded crime

Police recorded crime is the primary source of sub-national crime statistics and lower-volume crimes. It covers people (for example residents of institutions and tourists) and sectors (for example commercial crime) excluded from the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) sample, and has a wider coverage of offences - for example fraud and some crimes against businesses. Police recorded crime also covers some types of serious but relatively less common offences that are not covered or are less well covered by the survey, including robbery.

Police recorded crime statistics are affected by changes in reporting and recording practices. To ensure consistency, police recording practice is governed by Home Office Counting Rules (HOCR) and the National Crime Recording Standard (NCRS). These rules provide a national standard for the recording and classifying of notifiable offences by police forces in England and Wales (see Home Office, 2011).

There have been two major changes to the recording of crimes in recent years: in April 1998 the HOCR for recorded crime were expanded to include certain additional summary offences and counts became more victim-based (the number of victims was counted rather than the number of offences); in April 2002, the NCRS was introduced across England and Wales, although some forces adopted key elements of the standard earlier and compliance with the standard continued to improve in the years following its formal introduction. The NCRS was devised by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) in collaboration with Home Office statisticians. It was designed to ensure greater consistency between forces in recording crime and to take a more victim-oriented approach to crime recording with the police being required to record any allegation of crime unless there was credible evidence to the contrary (Simmons et al., 2003).

Both these changes resulted in an increase in the number of crimes recorded. Certain offences, such as the more minor violent crimes, were more affected by these changes than others. All of these factors need to be considered when looking at the trends in recorded crime. For these reasons, statistical bulletins present trends following the introduction of recording changes in police recorded crime from 2002/03. For more information see Chapter 3 of the User Guide.

2012 Commercial Victimisation Survey

The Commercial Victimisation Survey (CVS) provides information on the volume and type of crime committed against businesses in England and Wales by sector. This was launched following a recommendation of the National Statistician’s review of crime statistics (National Statistician, 2011).

The CVS is a telephone victimisation survey in which businesses in England and Wales are asked about their experiences of a range of crimes in the 12 months prior to interview. A total of 4,017 businesses from the manufacturing, retail and wholesale, transport and storage and accommodation and food sectors were interviewed in the 2012 CVS (approximately 1,000 from each sector). The survey uses similar methodology and questions to two previous surveys carried out in 1994 and 2002 allowing some comparisons to be made, notably for the retail sector. More information on the methodology of the survey is included in the Home Office’s report Crimes against businesses: headline findings from the 2012 Commercial Victimisation Survey.


As the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) is a sample survey, relatively few victims of less frequently occurring crimes are interviewed and these figures are therefore subject to greater fluctuations between years. These offences are better represented within police recorded crime figures, though they are still subject to the aforementioned limitations and will only include those offences that come to the attention of the police.


1. Bandyopadhyay, S., 2012, Acquisitive Crime: Imprisonment, Detection and Social Factors. Civitas: London.

2. British Retail Consortium, 2013, Retail Crime Survey 2012 London.

3. Bunge, V., Johnson, H. and Baldé, T., 2005, Exploring crime patterns in Canada, Crime and Justice Research Paper Series 85-561 no. 005. Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics and Time Series Research and Analysis Centre: Ontario.

4. Button, B., Lewis, C. and Tapley, J., ‘Fraud typologies and victims of fraud – Literature review’, National Fraud Authority

5. Clarke, R. V., 1999, Hot Products: Understanding, Anticipating and Reducing Demand for Stolen Goods, Police Research Series Paper 112. Home Office: London.

6. Donohue, J. and Levitt, S., 2001, ‘The impact of legalized abortion on crime’ The Quarterly Journal of Economics 116 (2), 379 – 420.

7. Farrell, G., Tilley, N., Tseloni, A. and Mailley, J., 2010, Explaining and sustaining the crime drop: Clarifying the role of opportunity-related theories, Crime Prevention and Community Safety 12 (1), 24 – 41.

8. Farrell, G., Tilley, N., Tseloni, A. and Mailley, J., 2011, The crime drop and the security hypothesis, Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency 48 (2), 147 – 175. 

9. Fox, C., 2011, How will the recession affect crime rates in Greater Manchester? Safer Communities 10 (3), 17 – 30.

10. Hird, C. and Ruparel, C., 2007, Seasonality in recorded crime: preliminary findings. Home Office Online Report 02/07. Home Office: London.

11. Home Office, 2013, Crime against businesses: headline findings from the 2012 Commercial Victimisation Survey: London.

12. Hoare J., Parfrement-Hopkins J., Britton A., Hall P., Scribbins M. (ed) and Flatley J. (ed), 2011 Children's experience and attitudes towards the police, personal safety and public spaces: Findings from the 2009/10 British Crime Survey, Home Office Statistical Bulletin 08/11. Home Office: London

13. Flatley J. and Moon D. (Eds), Roe S., Hall S. and Moley S., 2009 Home security, mobile phone theft and stolen goods: Supplementary Volume 3 to Crime in England and Wales 2007/08, Home Office Statistical Bulletin 10/09. Home Office: London.

14. Mirrlees-Black, C., Mayhew, P. and Percy, A., 1996, The 1996 British Crime Survey England and Wales. Home Office Statistical Bulletin 19/96. Home Office: London. 

15. Moon, D. and Flatley, J. (Eds), Hoare, J., Green, B., and Murphy, R., 2010, ‘Acquisitive crime and plastic card fraud: Findings from the 2008/09 British Crime Survey’ Supplementary Volume 3 to Crime in England and Wales 2008/09, Home Office Statistical Bulletin 08/10

16. National Fraud Authority, 2011, ‘Annual Fraud Indicator March 2011’

17. National Fraud Authority, 2012, ‘Annual Fraud Indicator March 2012’

18. Office of Fair Trading, 2006, ‘Research on impact of mass marketing scams’

19. Office for National Statistics, 2012, Crime in England and Wales – Quarterly first release, March 2012, London.

20. Office for National Statistics, 2012, Trends in Crime – A Short Story 2011/12, London.

21. Office for National Statistics, 2012, Crime in England and Wales, year ending March 2012

22. Office for National Statistics, 2013, Crime Statistics, Nature of Crime tables, 2011/12

23. Shury, J., Speed, S., Vivian, D., Kuechel, A. and Nicholas, S., 2003, Crime against retail and manufacturing premises: findings from the 2002 Commercial Victimisation Survey. Home Office Online Report 37/05. Home Office: London.

24. Tilley, N., Tseloni, A. and Farrell, G., 2011, Income Disparities of Burglary Risk. Security Availability during the Crime Drop, British Journal of Criminology 51 (2), 296 – 313.

25. Tseloni, A., Mailley, J., Farrell, G. and Tilley, N., 2010, Exploring the international decline in crime rates. European Journal of Criminology 7 (5), 375 – 394.

26. OfCom, 2013, ‘The Consumer Experience of 2012’

27. OfCom, 2013, ‘OfCom: Communications Market Report 2012’ 

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