Publication - Consultation paper

Scottish Crime and Justice Survey: consultation

Published: 23 Sep 2021
Justice Directorate
Part of:
Law and order

This consultation seeks views on the Scottish Crime and Justice Survey (SCJS), with a specific focus on how the survey might be adapted through the upcoming re-procurement exercise.

Scottish Crime and Justice Survey: consultation
4. Part Two: Themes for Feedback

4. Part Two: Themes for Feedback

This consultation aims to collect views on the SCJS, its strengths, weaknesses and the manner in which it might be adapted through the re-procurement process. The following paragraphs outline the features of the survey that we are particularly interested in seeking feedback on. This section will be relevant when answering Question 8 in the consultation, however, views on how the survey should be adapted need not be limited to these specific features. To note, SCJS questionnaire development is ongoing and runs throughout the lifetime of the contract.

4.1 Survey Aims

We are seeking views and comments on the key aims of the SCJS, see Section 3.1 for current aims. Specifically, how these aims might be adapted, extended or new aims added in order to better align with the needs of users.

4.2 Function as a Crime Survey

Notwithstanding the above statement, the SCJS must retain its function as a crime survey and specifically its function of providing data that complements the Police Recorded Crime statistics and evidences three of Scotland's National Indicators, perceptions of crime in the local area, crime victimisation and access to justice. These are essential indicators that are not evidenced by other surveys or data. We are interested to learn more about how the survey might better complement the Police Recorded Crime Statistics and evidence these National Indicators.

4.3 Sample & Frequency

The current SCJS is designed to be nationally representative. It has an achieved sample of approximately 6,000 adults (aged over 16) living in private residences in Scotland. This includes rented and social housing. As it stands, the SCJS is an annual survey. We are interested in views and comments on these aspects of the survey's design.

4.4 New Question Topics

We welcome ideas for new question topics. It should be noted that the current interview length for the SCJS is approximately 40 minutes. This is unlikely to increase significantly as we must ensure that survey respondents are not over-burdened. Therefore, the addition of new questions will almost certainly necessitate the removal or rotating out of some existing questions.

4.5 Definition of 'SCJS Crime'

As discussed in the 2019/20 Technical Report, overall crime measured by the SCJS, referred to in reports as 'all SCJS crime', is a product of two distinct groups being combined: violent and property crime:

Violent crime includes the following distinct groups:

  • Assault (includes serious assault, minor assault with injury, minor assault with no or negligible injury, and attempted assault)
  • Robbery

Property crime includes the following distinct groups:

  • Housebreaking
  • Personal theft (excluding robbery)
  • Other household theft (including bicycle theft)
  • All motor vehicle related theft (including theft and attempted theft of and from a vehicle)
  • Vandalism (including motor vehicle and property vandalism)

Cyber-crime and crimes mentioned within the self-completion sections are not included within 'all SCJS crime'. The self-completion section covers stalking, harassment, partner abuse (including both psychological and physical abuse by a partner) and sexual victimisation. Details of these are not included within 'all SCJS crime' statistics unless the incident is also mentioned by respondents in the victim form and assigned an offence code in the normal way. Incidents reported in the self-completion questionnaire only, could not be assigned offence codes in the same way as those collected in the victim form as only a limited number of follow-up questions were asked about incidents (reflecting an ethical decision based on potential respondent distress at having to disclose detailed information on very sensitive incidents).

We welcome comments on this definition of 'all SCJS Crime'.

4.6 Comparisons with Crime Survey for England and Wales

As discussed in detail in the SCJS 2019/20 Technical Report, there are a small number of ways in which the SCJS and the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) differ. For example, the coding of crimes differs which reflects the different criminal justice systems in which they operate. That said, the SCJS and CSEW are deemed to be similar enough that their results on the overall victimisation rate are broadly comparable.

We welcome views and comments on the comparisons made between the SCJS and CSEW.

4.7 SCJS & Further Research

We are aware that a number of individuals and organisations use the SCJS data as a starting point for further quantitative and qualitative research. We are interested in learning more about this. We are particularly interested in hearing about any specific research projects, or general research areas, for which you would like to use the SCJS data as a starting point. Furthermore, if there are any barriers to you doing so? Or, in other words, if any aspects of the SCJS might be adapted to better enable you to undertake further research in your area.

4.8 Future Proofing

As explained in Section 3.4, the SCJS was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, the 2021/2022 survey plans to adopt mixed-mode methods to align with ongoing public health measures. In light of the pandemic, and the resulting significant impact on the survey, we are keenly aware of the need to 'future proof' the SCJS. We welcome views and comments on how this might be achieved.