Annex 5: Upcoming Coding Changes and Future Considerations
Changes to the Coding of Recorded Crimes and Offences:
7.37. 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 2018-19 financial year the Board made changes to the coding of crimes and offences as a result of the Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Act 2018. This will impact on the 2019-20 reporting year (i.e. the year immediately following the statistics presented in this Bulletin).
7.38. The Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Act 2018 came into force on 1st April 2019. The Act created a new offence of abusive behaviour as a course of conduct towards a partner or ex-partner. Previously, any criminal act which formed part of a domestic abuse incident (such as a Common assault or Threatening or abusive behaviour) was included within the statistics under the relevant crime or offence. Where there is evidence of a course of conduct, new crime codes of Domestic abuse against a male or female victim have been created. Existing common law and statutory offences will continue to be used where appropriate in addition to the new crimes, with some exceptions (in particular Threatening and abusive behaviour), which will be included within the new crime. This means that there will be a discontinuity to the time series for some offence types. We will provide users with further information on this change in the 2019-20 bulletin.
7.39. The Offensive Weapons Act received Royal Assent in May 2019. The Act will make it illegal to possess dangerous weapons in private, and will make it a criminal offence to dispatch bladed products sold online without verifying the buyer is over 18. The Act also makes it an offence to possess a corrosive substance in a public place, and has updated the definition of a flick knife to reflect changing weapons design. The Scottish Crime Recording Board will continue to monitor the implementation of this Act and users will be informed of what impact these changes will have on the presentation of the National Statistics.
7.40. 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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