Official Statistics - recorded crime and related topics: consultation responses - summary

This publication provides a summary of responses a discussion of next steps to the consultation on how information about different types of crime is grouped and presented within the recorded crime Official Statistics (and other statistical products).


The aim of this paper

This paper provides a summary of responses to the consultation on how information about different types of crime is grouped and presented within the recorded crime Official Statistics (and other statistical products). The purpose of the consultation was to gather views on how best to ensure that 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).

This paper summarises the responses received to the consultation and the responses gathered at the associated consultation events. It also outlines the next steps planned to progress this work and associated timescales.

Background to the consultation

Scottish Government statisticians produce a National Statistics bulletin once a year on crimes and offences recorded by the police in Scotland. These statistics use a seven group structure[1] to present this information (non-sexual violence, sexual crime, dishonest crime etc.). The latest release for 2019-20 can be found at:

Recorded Crime in Scotland, 2019-2020

It is within the context of the evolving nature of crime, and the legislation that underpins how it is categorised, that the Scottish Crime Recording Board consulted users on how these National Statistics are presented. This included their views on some potential changes in approach.

The consultation opened on 8th July 2019, and was initially due to close on 8th October 2019. Following requests for additional time to complete a response, the deadline was extended to 30th November 2019. The full consultation document is available at the link below:

Presenting official statistics on recorded crime and related topics: consultation

Consultation events

Scottish Government statisticians, with support from board members, facilitated two public events during the consultation period. These were open to all organisations and individuals with an interest in the topic and were advertised via ScotStat and on the consultation webpage. Approximately twenty people, from a range of organisations attended the events which were held in Edinburgh. At these events, statisticians gave a presentation of the areas covered in the consultation, giving attendees the opportunity to discuss further, provide feedback and ask questions. Key topics discussed included potential changes to the presentation of statistics on violent crime, sexual crime, and the reclassification of common assault and drug possession.

In addition to the above, separate events were also run for Scottish Government policy colleagues, Police Scotland, the Scottish Police Authority's Strategy Policy and Performance Committee and the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research. Scottish Government statisticians also gave a similar presentation, with support from Police Scotland colleagues, to the Police Scotland Executive Team and Scottish Police Authority on 12th of December 2019, prior to the finalising of a joint response from Police Scotland and Scottish Police Authority.

Impact of Coronavirus Pandemic

Due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and the resultant increase in demand for associated analysis (for example the introduction of new monthly official statistics on crimes and offences recorded by the police), work on reviewing the responses to this consultation was paused. However, we believe the responses we received before the pandemic, which are discussed within this report, remain relevant.

The Crime Board will now resume its consideration of this topic, including the finalising of a revised grouping structure for recorded crime statistics. We will provide users with a further opportunity to provide feedback on this proposal, as part of a wider consultation which will also consider the production strategy for Recorded Crime Statistics in Scotland. This is planned for the Autumn of 2021.



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