Annex 5: Upcoming Coding Changes and Future Considerations
Changes to the Coding of Recorded Crimes and Offences:
7.36. Changes made to the rules governing the coding and counting of crimes and offences within the Scottish Crime Recording Standard (SCRS) must be approved by the Scottish Crime Recording Board (SCRB) (Annex 2 provides background information on the role of the Board). During the 2017-18 financial year, the Board did not make any changes to the coding of crimes and offences that will impact on the 2018-19 reporting year (i.e. the year immediately following the statistics presented in this Bulletin).
7.37. The Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Bill received Royal Assent on the 9th of March 2018. The Bill creates an offence with respect to the engaging by a person in a course of behavior which is abusive of the person’s partner or ex-partner. At present, any criminal act which formed part of a domestic abuse incident (such as a common assault or threatening or abusive behavior) will be included within the statistics under the relevant crime or offence. The Scottish Crime Recording Board will consider how to record the new offence created by the Bill, and statisticians will use the SCOTSTAT network to update users on its decision and any impact this will have on the recording of crime.
7.38. In April 2018, the UK Government announced plans to introduce an Offensive Weapons Bill to tackle serious violence. The Bill will make proposals that if enacted could change the legislative landscape used to record crimes of weapon possession, including in Scotland. This in turn could affect the number of weapons-related crimes recorded by Police Scotland. Some of the areas identified by the Home Office for inclusion in the Bill are plans to make new criminal offences for possessing corrosive substances in a public place or certain offensive weapons like zombie knives or knuckledusters in private settings. Specific provisions in the proposed Bill also update the definition of a flick knife to reflect changing weapon designs. The Scottish Crime Recording Board will continue to monitor the implementation of this Bill and users will be informed of any impact these changes will have on the preparation of the National Statistics.
7.39. At present, legacy police force systems are still in place for the recording of incidents and crimes. This means we can only receive an aggregate count of crimes and offences recorded by the police. We note that many of our users have an interest in more analysis of individual level crime data, which would allow, for example, new information on the age and gender of victims and perpetrators. As the development of Police Scotland’s recording system proceeds, we will consult with our statistical users at the appropriate time.
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