Recorded Crime in Scotland, 2015-16

Statistics on crimes and offences recorded and cleared up by the police in Scotland.

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Annex 3: Comparisons with England & Wales and Northern Ireland

7.26. Recorded crime statistics for England & Wales are not directly comparable with those in Scotland. The recorded crime statistics for Scotland are collected on the basis of the SCRS, which was introduced in 2004. Like its counterpart in England & Wales, it aims to give consistency in crime recording.

The main principles of the SCRS, with regard to when a crime should be recorded, are similar to the National Crime Recording Standard (NCRS) for England & Wales. However, there are various differences between the respective Counting Rules which specify different approaches for counting the number of crimes that should be recorded as a result of a single incident.

For instance, crimes recorded in England & Wales tend to be incident based, where the Principle Crime Rule states that if the sequence of crimes in an incident, or a complex crime, contains more than one type of crime, then the most serious crime should be counted. For example, an incident where an intruder breaks into a home and assaults the sole occupant would be recorded as two crimes in Scotland, while in England & Wales it would be recorded as one crime.

7.27. Differences in legislation and common law also have to be taken into account when comparing the crime statistics for England & Wales and Scotland.

7.28. Crime Statistics for England & Wales are published quarterly on the Office for National Statistics ( ONS) website. The latest Crime Statistics for England & Wales can be accessed from the following link:

7.29. The legal system in Northern Ireland is based on that of England & Wales and the Police Service for Northern Ireland ( PSNI) has the same notifiable offence list for recorded crime as used in England & Wales. In addition, the PSNI has adopted the NCRS and Home Office Counting Rules for recorded crime that applies in England & Wales. Thus, there are comparability considerations similar to those detailed above between recorded crime statistics for Northern Ireland and Scotland.

Crime statistics for Northern Ireland are collected and published separately. The latest Police Recorded Crime Statistics for Northern Ireland can be accessed from the following link:

7.30. Further detail on the comparability of crime data can be found in the User Guide to Recorded Crime Statistics in Scotland, available from:


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