Scottish Crime and Justice Survey 2017/18: main findings

Main findings from the Scottish Crime and Justice Survey 2017-18 and the self-completion findings covering the period 2016-17 to 2017-18.

This document is part of a collection

Annex B: Overview of police recorded crime and SCJS

Recorded Crime

Scottish Crime and Justice Survey

Where do the data come from?

Administrative police records.

Face to face interviews with residents from a nationally representative sample of the household population.

Basis for inclusion

Crimes recorded to the police in Scotland, governed by the Scottish Crime Recording Standard.

Trained coders determine whether experiences of victimisation in the last 12 months constitute a crime and assign an offence code.


Collected by financial year. Statistics released in an annual publication.

Survey conducted annually for each financial year with recall period extending over 25 months. Results previously published biennially, now annually.


  • Covers the full range of crimes and offences.
  • Provides data at a local level.
  • A good measure of rarer, more serious crimes that are well reported.
  • Measure of long-term trends.
  • Good measure of crime that the police are faced with.
  • Good measure of trends since 2008-09.
  • Captures further information about crimes that are and are not reported to the police (including sensitive issues such as domestic abuse or drug abuse).
  • Analyses crime for different demographic groups and victim-offender relationships.
  • Provides information on multiple and repeat victimisation (up to 5 incidents in a series).
  • Provides attitudinal data (e.g. fear of crime or attitudes towards the criminal justice system).


  • Partially reliant on the public reporting crime.
  • Reporting rates may vary by the type of crime (e.g. serious crime is more likely to be reported or housebreaking if a crime number is required for insurance purposes).
  • Trends can be affected by legislation; public reporting practices; police recording practices.
  • Does not cover all crimes (e.g. homicide or crimes without specific victims, such as speeding).
  • Does not cover the entire population (e.g. children, homeless people or people living in communal accommodation).
  • Less able to produce robust data at lower level geographies.
  • Difficult to measure trends between survey sweeps, especially in rarer forms of crime (such as more serious offences).
  • Estimates are subject to a degree of error (confidence intervals).

What other data are collected?

  • Additional statistical bulletins published, including on homicides, firearm offences and domestic abuse incidents.
  • Public perceptions about crime.
  • Worry about crime and the perceived likelihood of being a victim.
  • Confidence in the police and the criminal justice system.
  • Prevalence estimates on ‘sensitive’ topics (partner abuse, sexual victimisation, stalking and drug use).



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