Coronavirus (COVID-19): information for crime survey interviewees

Information for interviewees, including what happens next if you have been selected to take part, what happens to the information you provide, and other frequently asked questions.

This document is part of a collection

Please note all interviews for the telephone survey have now been completed.

If you have already participated in the Scottish Crime and Justice Survey since April 2018, provided a phone number and consented to take part in future research then you may be asked to participate in this telephone survey.  You may receive a letter in the post with information about the survey and what is involve in taking part. However, if you do not receive a letter and are contacted to take part, you will find all of the same information below. You will also find additional information on how data is handled in accordance with data protection legislation and answers to some frequently asked questions. If you still have unanswered questions about the survey however, please get in touch with the survey team at the Scottish Government on 0131 244 3012 or email

If you are contacted to take part, an interviewer from Ipsos MORI will call you on the telephone number you provided when interviewed for the Scottish Crime and Justice Survey. If you have any questions or would like to arrange a convenient time for the interview, please call Freephone Ipsos MORI on 0808 238 5376 (9.30 am to 5.00 pm, Monday to Friday) or email

What is the survey about?


The Scottish Crime and Justice Survey (SCJS) is our established source of information on people’s experiences and perceptions of crime, policing and the justice system in Scotland; based on around 5,500 face-to-face interviews in the homes of respondents.

To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, all Scottish Government face-to-face interviewing – Including the SCJS – has been suspended since the 17th March 2020.

The ongoing suspension of the SCJS opens up an evidence gap on the extent and prevalence of crime in Scotland during the period covered by the pandemic. To help meet this challenge, we are running a new survey in early autumn, using telephone-based interviews on people’s experience of crime and feelings of safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The telephone survey is important because it provides a picture of crime in Scotland, including crimes that haven’t been reported to, or recorded by the police and captured in police recorded crime statistics.

The survey will help us better understand and tackle crime in Scotland, and to see how COVID-19 has impacted on people’s views and experiences in relation to crime.

By taking part you will be playing an important role in supporting our work to make communities safer.

The survey is undertaken to provide evidence on and to inform matters of public interest, and complies with relevant data protection legislation.

Why have I been contacted?


Around 6,000 adults who took part in the Scottish Crime and Justice Survey since April 2018 and consented to take part in future research have been selected to take part in this survey.

It is important that the same household member takes part in this survey so that the interview can be made shorter by not asking some of the same information again and so it’s possible to understand how perceptions and experiences change over time.

Why should I take part?


Taking part in the survey is voluntary. By taking part you will help the Scottish Government and the police gain a better understanding of crime in Scotland, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. This will help to tackle crime more effectively. The more people who agree to take part, the more reliable the results of the survey will be.  All experiences and opinions are important, even if you have not been the victim of crime.

Who carries out the survey?


The study is carried out jointly by Ipsos MORI and ScotCen Social Research, on behalf of the Scottish Government. Ipsos MORI and ScotCen are impartial research institutes, independent of all government departments and political parties. For more information visit or or Any interviewer who calls about the survey will be from Ipsos MORI. So you know who is calling, their call identification number will be 0131 561 4532.

If you are unsure, or have any questions please contact

Please leave a message with your name and a contact number and the reference number of your letter (if you have received one) and you will be contacted as quickly as possible.

What questions will the interviewer ask?


As in the last interview, the telephone survey will ask about your experiences of crime in the past year. There are also some questions about your perceptions of crime and safety, as well as your views of the police.

Some questions may seem more personal than others, for example, as part of the survey, we collect demographic information about you and your household, such as age, gender, and household income. We collect this information and then reweight the resulting data to ensure that the survey results are representative of the people of Scotland. This allows us to monitor the experiences and perceptions of crime by different demographic and equality characteristics.

The survey will NOT include questions about drugs, partner abuse, sexual victimisation and harassment which you might remember completing yourself the last time.

You may refuse to answer any question and do you not have to say why you did not want to provide an answer. If you are affected by any of the questions asked and want to get more support, please visit our victim support page.

How long will the survey take?


The telephone survey will be shorter in length than the previous survey and will take, on average, around 20 minutes to complete.

I have never experienced crime, do I still need to take part?


Yes. It is important we capture views from people who have experienced crime and those who have not. This enables us to produce reliable estimates of what proportion of people living in Scotland have been victims of crime.

The survey also asks questions which are not directly related to being a victim of crime, for example questions on the perceptions of crime, safety and the police.

All experiences and opinions are important, therefore we encourage you to take part whether you have been a victim of crime or not.

Is the survey confidential?


Yes. No one looking at the findings will be able to identify you in any way. Personal details, like your name and address, will only be known to the survey team processing the survey results at ScotCen, Ipsos MORI and the Scottish Government. Personal information which can identify you directly, like your name and address, is stored securely and separately from your answers to the main survey questions. We won’t pass on your details unless you say you are happy for us to do so, and this would only ever be to invite you to take part in further research.

The Scottish Government and the companies doing the survey on its behalf, Ipsos Mori and ScotCen, handle your information carefully and in accordance with data protection legislation. No results are ever published which enables individual respondents to be identified.

What will happen to the information I give?


Once all the responses have been collated, they are anonymised and stored securely only for research purposes by the Scottish Government and other authorised research institutes now and in the future. The information is used by the Scottish Government and organisations like the police to help make important decisions which affect us all. This information is collected in the public interest to help us to understand who is most likely to experience crime, any changes over time and to check if current policies are working.

We will treat the information you give in accordance with data protection legislation.

If you have any concerns about how your information is being used, you have the right to complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office.

To information on how to contact the Scottish Government’s Data Protection and Information Assets team, please visit their webpage.

When will the survey results be available?


Survey results are published once results from each round of data collection are brought together and analysed.

We hope to publish results from the telephone survey at the start of 2021.

The latest findings and previous publications from the Scottish Crime and Justice Survey can be found on the SCJS main page.




To provide any feedback on the telephone survey, or to request further information, please use the following contact details:


Telephone: 0131 244 3012

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