FOI reference: FOI-2023-1229

You asked

Please provide:

1) The methodology that produces the Crime Survey.

2) How many people are interviewed, a. How they are selected b. Who decides on the questions c. How long do the interviews take.

3) What is the function of the crime number issued by police in influencing the crime statistics.

We said

Thank you for your request.

Our full Quality and Methodology Information (QMI) can be found here: Crime in England and Wales QMI - Office for National Statistics (

In the year ending March 2023 there were 31,183 people interviewed. The sample of the population is drawn from the small users' Postcode Address File (PAF), which is widely accepted as the best general population sampling frame in England and Wales. Once the household has been selected an interviewer then visits the address and one respondent is then randomly selected to take part in the survey from all eligible people aged 16 and over within the household.  

The face-to-face CSEW was suspended on 17 March 2020 because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. A telephone-operated version of the CSEW (TCSEW) was specifically designed to allow us to continue measuring crime during this period while face-to-face interviewing is not possible. Due to the change in methodology, these sources are not directly comparable. Further detail on the comparability between CSEW and TCSEW data can be found here Update to comparability between the Telephone-operated Crime Survey for England and Wales and the face-to-face Crime Survey for England and Wales - Office for National Statistics ( 

Face-to-face interviewing on the survey resumed in October 2021. Our statistical bulletin published 20th July : Crime in England and Wales - Office for National Statistics ( reports on interviews completed between 1st April 2022 and 31st March 2023.   

The Centre for Crime and Justice within the ONS are responsible for the questionnaire development with input from stakeholders and data users including the Home Office and Ministry of Justice. Survey content remains largely consistent year on year.

The length of interviews can vary depending on the respondent's experiences of crime. The average (mean) core interview length in 2019-20 was 48 minutes (median 44 minutes). Full methodological details for the 2022-23 survey will be published by the end of the year. Details of previous surveys can be found here:  

Police recorded crime data are supplied to us by the Home Office, who are responsible for the collation of recorded crime data supplied by the 43 territorial police forces of England and Wales, plus the British Transport Police. Recorded crime figures are an important indicator of police workload. Further information on police recorded crime and what the data can be used for can be found in our User guide to crime statistics for England and Wales: March 2023

For specific information on Police recorded crime please contact the Home Office by email at and they may be able to help you further with your request.