The aim of this paper
This paper provides a summary of responses to the consultation on the production and dissemination of Scotland's recorded crime statistics, and on the possible development of new statistical products covering other types of policing activity.
The purpose of the consultation was to gather views on how best to ensure that Scotland's recorded crime statistics remain of high value, through their relevance to those who use them, and their capacity to support understanding of the important issues relating to crime in Scotland (alongside other complementary sources of official statistics and research).
The feedback we received has helped inform our long term strategy for the delivery of crime and policing statistics, which we will continue to develop going forward. This paper summarises the written responses to the consultation and the feedback gathered at the related consultation events. It then outlines a package of changes to the production of Scotland's recorded crime statistics, as part of a wider section on the next steps to progress this work.
Background to the consultation
Scottish Government statisticians produce an annual National Statistics bulletin on crimes and offences recorded by the police in Scotland. These provide a measure of the volume of criminal activity with which the police are faced. The latest release for 2020-21 can be found at: Recorded Crime in Scotland, 2020-21.
Since April 2020 the Scottish Government has also published a monthly Official Statistics bulletin on recorded crime. The role of this product was to inform users about the impact of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic on crime in Scotland. The latest release for February 2022 can be found at: Recorded Crime in Scotland - Monthly Official Statistics.
Further to these, the Scottish Government produces several annual statistical bulletins which provide information on a range of criminal activity dealt with by the police, including statistics on homicide, drug seizures, crimes and offences involving firearms and domestic abuse incidents. These can be found at: Crime and justice statistics.
The Scottish Crime Recording Board consulted users on the annual National Statistics. This included gathering their views on suggested changes to how crimes and offences were grouped within the statistics, and in the way findings are presented within the bulletin. The consultation also asked about the frequency of publication, and the use made of the monthly Official Statistics.
While the statistics listed above include a wide range of crime related matters that come to the attention of the police, their coverage of non-criminal incidents dealt with by officers on a daily basis is very limited. In this context, the consultation also sought feedback on the possible future development of new statistical products on wider measures of police activity.
The consultation opened on 22 October 2021 and closed on 10 December 2021. The full consultation document is available online at: The future of recorded crime and police activity statistics: consultation.
Scottish Government statisticians facilitated a user event during the consultation period. This was open to all organisations and individuals with an interest in the topic, and was advertised via the ScotStat network and on the Citizen Space consultation hub webpage.
Five people from a range of organisations attended the event, which was held online. Statisticians gave a presentation on the areas covered in the consultation and attendees had the opportunity to discuss further, provide feedback and ask questions. Any feedback collected was in addition to the written responses received through the Citizen Space consultation hub. Key topics discussed included proposed alternative ways to group and present statistics on recorded crime, dissemination of these statistics and the possible development of new police activity statistics.
In addition to the above, separate events were also run for Scottish Government policy colleagues and Police Scotland. Statisticians presented the questions contained in the consultation and facilitated discussion, giving stakeholders an opportunity to provide any feedback (which was in addition to their response through the consultation hub).
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