2. Methodological notes

Back to table of contents

4. UK Statistics Authority Assessment

Following an assessment of ONS crime statistics by the UK Statistics Authority, the statistics based on police recorded crime data were 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.

In their assessment report the UK Statistics Authority set out 16 requirements to be addressed. ONS have been working in collaboration with the Home Office Statistics Unit, the Police Service and Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) to address these requirements. A summary of progress is available on this web page.

Since the UK Statistics Authority’s assessment was carried out, HMIC have completed and published findings from inspections of crime recording in police forces in England and Wales. HMIC concluded that the level of under-recording of reports of crime was "unacceptable" (estimating that 1 in 5 offences that should have been recorded as crimes were not) and made a number of recommendations to improve recording. In light of these findings ONS have decided to delay approaching the UK Statistics Authority to request a re-assessment of crime statistics until such time as we can provide further evidence of improvements in the quality of police recorded crime data. An exchange of letters earlier in 2015 between the National Statistician, and the Chair of the UK Statistics Authority provides further detail on this decision.

Since the Authority’s assessment and the conclusion of HMIC inspections there is evidence that the police have taken steps to improve recording. It is likely that recent increases seen in the number of crimes recorded by the police reflect improvements in police compliance with recording standards, particularly in the categories of violence against the person and sexual offences where the level of under-recording observed by HMIC was most pronounced.

Further evidence of improvements in police recorded crime is provided through comparisons with the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW). Previous ONS analysis of variation in crime trends highlighted a growing gap between police recorded crime and the CSEW between 2007/08 and 2012/13. However, more recently the gap between the two data series has narrowed, and the latest release of crime statistics (for the year ending December 2014) shows a further narrowing (further information is available in section 4.2 of the User Guide to Crime Statistics in England and Wales).

ONS will continue to publish and provide commentary on police recorded crime data. Further information on the interpretation of recorded crime data is provided in the User Guide to Crime Statistics in England and Wales.

Back to table of contents