Part One: Proposal to introduce new crime groups in 2022
Part One of the consultation built on earlier engagement with users in 2019, where they were asked to consider an alternative way to group and present recorded crime statistics.
Proposal to introduce new crime grouping structure
This consultation aimed to conclude the discussion through asking users if they had a preference between two options, one which retained fewer broader groups and a second that was more granular, with 16 groups. These were developed in response to the feedback received in 2019, reflecting the mixed views regarding the degree of granularity users wanted in the grouping structure.
- The first, (Option A) retained fewer broader groups for crimes and offences, and continues to present one group for non-sexual crimes of violence and one group for sexual crimes
- The second, (Option B) took the more granular approach with 16 suggested groups, several more than at present, and is similar to the alternative groups presented to users in the 2019 consultation
Of the 17 written responses, seven did not note a preference. Six noted support for the granular approach (Option B), with some stating this appeared clearer and more transparent. Three responses preferred Option A, noting that the broader groups with more sub-categories would provide more concise and uncluttered headline figures, while ensuring detailed information is available from the sub-categories. Finally, one response stated a preference for Option B, but with elements of Option A (in particular keeping sexual crimes as one group).
Of those users who expressed an opinion on the grouping structure at the consultation events, most favoured a granular approach as a way to have more detailed information.
Option B suggested dividing sexual crimes into two groups: sexual crimes with physical contact and sexual crimes without physical contact. Some respondents highlighted concern that the split into with and without physical contact may suggest the statistics are minimising the seriousness and impact of what might be termed as 'non-contact' sexual offending. On the other hand, it was noted that the sexual crimes without physical contact group could give a good proxy for online sexual offending.
Proposal for splitting common assault into with injury and without injury
Common assault is currently classified as a miscellaneous offence. The earlier consultation in 2019 found users agreed that the reclassification of common assault from an offence to a crime would add value to the statistics. Respondents were also supportive of separating common assault into with and without injury, however some concern was raised regarding the definitions that might be used to do this.
The Scottish Crime Recording Board therefore undertook further work to refine the definitions that would underpin the splitting of common assault into with and without injury, and asked for further feedback on this as part of this consultation.
There was again broad consensus that common assault should be reclassified as a crime, and split into with and without injury. Most of the respondents answering this question were content with the suggested definition (seven out of the nine offering a view), although there was some concern around the treatment of those cases that include spitting/coughing and the potential spreading of infection. One respondent noted that where infection occurs, a serious assault or a crime of culpable and reckless conduct might be more appropriate (rather than a common assault) and this definition may cause confusion when coding a crime.
It was also noted that it should be made clear to users that this is a presentational split to provide them with further details on the nature of crime, and is not intended to suggest common assault without injury is any less serious to victims.
Similarly, at consultation events there was general support for the suggested definitions of common assault into with and without injury.
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