Analysis and Data Access Division
Telephone: +44 (0)20 7592 8695
Frequency of release: Quarterly
Geographical coverage: England and Wales
Geographical breakdown: Local Authority and County
Survey name(s): Crime Survey for England and Wales
Latest figures from the CSEW show there were an estimated 7.3 million incidents of crime against households and resident adults (aged 16 and over) in England and Wales for the year ending March 2014. This represents a 14% decrease compared with the previous year’s survey, and is the lowest estimate since the survey began in 1981.
The CSEW covers a broad range of victim based crimes and includes crimes which do not come to the attention of the police. Decreases were evident for most major crime types compared with the previous year; violence saw a 20% fall, criminal damage fell by 17%, and theft offences decreased by 10%.
In contrast, police recorded crime shows no overall change from the previous year, with 3.7 million offences recorded in the year ending March 2014. Prior to this police recorded crime figures have shown year on year reductions since 2002/03.
While both series have shown falls in crime since 2002/03, police recorded crime has fallen at a faster rate than the survey, particularly between 2006/07 and 2011/12. This has raised questions about the quality of crime recording by the police.
For the most recent year this pattern has changed with the recorded crime series showing a similar level of crime compared with the previous year while the survey continues to fall. The renewed focus on the quality of crime recording by the police is likely to have prompted improved compliance with crime recording standards in some police forces, leading to more crimes being recorded. This is thought to have particularly impacted the police recorded figures for violence against the person (up 6%) and public order offences (up 2%).
The number of police recorded shoplifting offences showed a 7% increase compared with the previous year. Anecdotal evidence from police forces suggests that this rise is likely to be a result of a genuine increase in crime rather than any change in recording practice.
There was also a large increase in the volume of fraud recorded (17% year on year), though it is difficult to judge to what extent that reflected an improvement in recording practices, an increase in public reports or a rise in actual criminality.
Sexual offences recorded by the police saw a 20% rise from the previous year and continues the pattern seen in recent publications. This rise is related to the effect of the Operation Yewtree investigation, connected to the Jimmy Savile inquiry, whereby more victims are coming forward to report offences to the police. Improved compliance with the recording standards for sexual offences in some police forces may also be a factor.
The most recent crime statistics from the Crime Survey for England and Wales and police recorded crime.
In accordance with the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007, statistics based on police recorded crime data have been assessed against the Code of Practice for Official Statistics and found not to meet the required standard for designation as National Statistics. The full assessment report can be found on the UK Statistics Authority website. Data from the Crime Survey for England and Wales continue to be badged as National Statistics.
Alongside this release, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) have published a response to the UK Statistics Authority’s assessment of crime statistics, including progress on implementing the requirements set out by the Authority.
This quarterly release presents the most recent crime statistics from two different sources: the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW, previously known as the British Crime Survey) and police recorded crime.
The 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. For the crime types and population groups it covers, the CSEW provides a more reliable measure of trends in crime than police recorded crime statistics, as it has a consistent methodology and is unaffected by changes in levels of reporting to the police, recording practice or police activity.
Police recorded crime data are supplied to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) by the Home Office, who are responsible for the collation of recorded crime data supplied by police forces in England and Wales. Recorded crime figures are an important indicator of police workload. They can be used for analysis of crime at a local level and provide a good measure of trends in well-reported crimes.
Following the Home Secretary’s acceptance of the recommendations of the National Statistician’s Review of crime statistics in June 2011 the collation and publication of crime statistics moved to the ONS on 1 April 2012. For previous publications please see the Home Office web-pages.
For information on how to interpret the crime statistics please see the User Guide to Crime Statistics for England and Wales and our on-line Guide to Finding Crime Statistics.
Crime Statistics Advisory Committee
In line with the National Statistician’s recommendations an independent Crime Statistics Advisory Committee has also been formed to provide advice on issues related to the collection and presentation of these statistics. Please see the UK Statistics Authority website for further information and minutes of meetings.
Further sources of police recorded crime data
Historic police recorded crime data tables can be found on the Home Office web-pages
Police forces publish provisional recorded crime data at street level on the police website (The Office for National Statistics is not responsible for the content of this website).
Further survey information
Further Crime Survey information is available from the Crime Statistics methodological page. This includes:
A technical report covering all aspects of the CSEW survey design, including sampling strategy, field operations, response rates, weighting methodology, and data processing.
A copy of the CSEW survey questionnaires
Anonymised datasets from the Crime Survey for England and Wales (in SPSS format) currently are available on:
The ONS Virtual Micro data Laboratory (VML).
Researchers, including students, who need data for dissertations or practical work can use these datasets.
The United Kingdom Statistics Authority has designated these statistics as National Statistics, in accordance with the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007 and signifying compliance with the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.
Designation can be broadly interpreted to mean that the statistics:
Once statistics have been designated as National Statistics it is a statutory requirement that the Code of Practice shall continue to be observed.