Scottish Crime Recording Standard: Crime Recording and Counting Rules

Crime recording and counting rules for the Scottish Crime Recording Standard (SCRS). These are overseen, approved, maintained and developed by the Scottish Crime Recording Board (SCRB).

This document is part of a collection

Part One - Section A – Scottish Crime Recording Standard


In April 2004, the Scottish Crime Recording Standard (SCRS) was introduced throughout Scotland.

The Standard was produced by the Scottish Crime Registrar’s Group and agreed by the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland (ACPOS), following research that identified the need to develop a more victim orientated approach to crime recording. This followed on from the National Crime Recording Standard, which was introduced in England and Wales in April 2002.

Tackling crime and the causes of crime are key priorities for Police Scotland. Ethical recording of crime is integral to modern policing and it is vitally important that crime recording and disposal practices are capable of withstanding rigorous scrutiny.

Police Scotland Code of Ethics is a set of guiding principles that define how the Police perform their duties and is enshrined in decisions made as individuals and as a service. The code is designed as a guide to help provide positive outcomes and improve the safety and wellbeing of people, places and communities in Scotland. Police Scotland's core values include Integrity, Fairness, Respect and Human Rights.

Accurate and timely recording of crime assists analysis of crime patterns, trends and fluctuations and supports the National Intelligence Model. Accurate crime data illustrates to the Service, Local Government and the public at large how the police are performing and identifies areas, if any, which require greater resourcing.

The Standard sets out to ensure a more victim-orientated approach is taken to recording crime. A more detailed approach with regards to the practical recording and application of the SCRS can be found within further sections of this manual.

The ultimate responsibility for ensuring compliance lies with the Chief Constable, discharged on a daily basis by the appointed Crime Registrars.

All recordable crime will be recorded electronically and strictly in line with this manual. The subsequent investigation of crime will be the responsibility of individual local Commanders. All recorded crime will be retained on systems in accordance with the Police Scotland Record Retention Standard Operating Procedure.

Any reference to ‘crime’ in this manual also refers to offences under statute.

The purpose of this manual is to advise on the recording of crime laid down by the SCRS which is underpinned by the counting rules for crime, where crimes and offences are grouped under recognised categories for statistical purposes as defined by the Scottish Government for production of National Statistics.

All crime reports are subject to the rules set out in this document, which are under constant review. Updates to counting rules will normally be effective from 1st April each year.

It must be recognised that it is impossible to cover every conceivable crime and scenario and therefore this manual concentrates on crimes in common use.

Police officers should seek further guidance from the Police Scotland Legal Database.

Aim of the Standard

The aim of the standard is:

To provide a more victim orientated approach that serves the needs of our communities, and ensures uniformity in crime recording practices throughout Scotland.


The following principles apply:

All reports of incidents, whether crime related or not, will result in the creation of an incident report which is auditable;

Following initial registration, an incident will be recorded as a crime in all cases if:

  • the circumstances amount to a crime defined by Scots Law or an offence under statute; and
  • there is no credible evidence to the contrary;

Once recorded, a crime will remain recorded unless there is credible evidence to disprove that a crime had occurred.

Sources of Crime

It is recognised that reports of crime can be received from a variety of sources and do not always result in an incident (via Command and Control) being created before a crime is recorded. Whilst the auditable trail in most cases will be by the creation of an incident (via Command and Control), on occasions the initial details can be noted by other means e.g. within officer's notebook and a crime recorded directly thereafter.



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