Recorded Crime in Scotland, 2021-2022

Statistics on crimes and offences recorded and cleared up by the police in Scotland in 2021-22, split by crime or offence group and by local authority.

This document is part of a collection

Annex 1: Data source and context

Data source

National Statistics on police recorded crime are based on data which Police Scotland extract from their data repository, called the Source for Evidence Based Policing (SEBP) and submit to the Scottish Government. Prior to 2020-21, the data was collected from a different Police Scotland IT system, called the Scottish Operational and Management Information System (ScOMIS).

Scottish Government statisticians, with support from Police Scotland, conducted a comparative analysis between ScOMIS and SEBP. This analysis considered the impact of changing the source of recorded crime statistics from ScOMIS to SEBP and found that there is strong alignment between both administrative systems, with just minor discrepancies. The outcomes of this work are discussed in more detail in the User Guide.

Prior to 2013-14 and the establishment of Police Scotland, the Scottish Government collected recorded crime data from the eight legacy forces, who in turn extracted the data from their own systems. Despite the change in method of collection, the data presented on total recorded crime remains comparable both before and after 1 April 2013. The Scottish Government produced a Technical Report on the Comparability of Recorded Crime Data in 2014 which detailed the quality assurance work which was carried out to reach this conclusion.

On 1 April 2004, the Scottish Crime Recording Standard (SCRS) was introduced to help maintain a victim orientated approach to crime recording. It was anticipated that this might increase the number of minor crimes recorded such as vandalism and minor thefts. It can be seen from Chart 1 that this did cause a slight increase in 2004-05 as expected, but that the downwards trend returned following this change to recording practice.

The detailed classification of crimes and offences used by the Scottish Government to collect criminal statistics contains over 500 codes. Further information on how the crime codes are grouped can be found in the User Guide. As discussed in the Introduction, a new crime and offence grouping structure has been used in the 2021-22 bulletin for the first time. More detailed information on this change is provided in Annex 5.

The statistical return from which most of the figures in this bulletin are taken is a simple count of the numbers of crimes and offences, for each local authority, which the police have recorded and cleared up.

Amendments to crime and offence records will always arise after data has been submitted by Police Scotland to the Scottish Government.

As with our analysis in previous bulletins, the comparison presented below confirms that the extent of further amendment to police crime and offence records following the original submission of data continues to be minimal at the Scotland level. This gives users confidence that the published statistics for 2013-14 to 2020-21 recorded crimes and offences are reliable. On a proportional basis, the biggest impact is on the Crimes of dishonesty group, where a net 1,684 fewer crimes have been recorded following no-criming and reclassification between groups. This has reduced the number of Crimes of Dishonesty by 1.9% from 89,731 to 88,047.

Table A13: Revisions of crimes recorded by the police, Scotland, 2020-21
2020-21 Reporting Year Number & Percentage
Crime or Offence Group Submitted in April 2021 Submitted in April 2022 Difference % Difference
Total Crime and Offences 465,709 463,325 -2,384 -0.5%
Total Crime 278,476 276,097 -2,379 -0.9%
Non-sexual crimes of violence 61,913 61,976 63 0.1%
Sexual crimes 13,131 13,239 108 0.8%
Crimes of dishonesty 89,731 88,047 -1,684 -1.9%
Damage and reckless behaviour 42,964 42,863 -101 -0.2%
Crimes against society 70,737 69,972 -765 -1.1%
Total Offences 187,233 187,228 -5 0.0%
Antisocial offences 57,456 57,372 -84 -0.1%
Miscellaneous offences 13,580 13,368 -212 -1.6%
Road traffic offences 116,197 116,488 291 0.3%

Despite the fact that only a very small proportion of records are amended following their original submission to the Scottish Government, it is important for National Statistics purposes that time series comparisons between 2013-14 to 2020-21 are on a like-for-like basis. As such the 2013-14 to 2020-21 data used in this bulletin remains that which was submitted immediately following each of these years, to ensure this is consistent with the timetable being followed for the submission of data for 2021-22 (i.e. the same amount of time has elapsed for amendments to records for each reporting year based on ScOMIS/SEBP).

Information on the data source used in the Recorded Crime bulletin series and supporting metadata can be found in the User Guide.

Information is also collected from the British Transport Police and the Ministry of Defence Police, but these figures have not been included in the main body of this bulletin. The following crimes and offences were recorded by these two organisations:

Table A14: Crimes and offences recorded and cleared up (as a percentage of those recorded) by the British Transport Police and Ministry of Defence Police, Scotland, 2021-22
Number & Percentage
Crimes Crime clear up rate Offences Offence clear up rate
Total recorded by British Transport Police 1,797 45.4% 3,240 28.2%
Total recorded by Ministry of Defence Police 45 15.6% - -

In addition to the National Statistics presented in this bulletin, Police Scotland publish management information on the number of crimes and offences recorded by the police. This is presented within their Quarterly Management Information Reports, which are available on Police Scotland’s website. It should be noted there will be no change to the crime groupings used in Police Scotland’s publications at this time.

For more information on these statistics please see the User Guide.

Context for recording crimes and offences

This section provides information on the context for recording crimes and offences.

In one criminal incident, several crimes or offences may occur – e.g. a house may be broken into and vandalised, and the occupants assaulted. In this example, crimes of housebreaking (which would include the vandalism) and assaults would be recorded. In multiple offence incidents, more than one offence may be counted rather than one for the incident as a whole; that is, the counting system is offence based rather than incident based.

An offence may have more than one victim – for example in robberies – and be committed by more than one offender – e.g. some assaults and housebreakings (note that for Murder, Attempted murder and Culpable homicide, the number of crimes recorded is equal to the number of victims). Thus the statistics in this bulletin are not directly comparable with statistics on action taken against offenders, as one offence may lead to several persons being charged. Equally, an offender may be charged with several offences.

Attempts to commit an offence are included in the statistics, in general in the same group as the substantive offence.

Information on the definitions used in this bulletin are provided in the User Guide.



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