User Guide to Recorded Crime Statistics in Scotland

Provides detailed information on the Recorded Crime in Scotland statistical bulletin series. It is designed to be a useful reference guide with explanatory notes regarding issues and classifications which are crucial to the production and presentation of crime statistics in Scotland.

3. Roles of organisations

This section provides information about the roles and responsibilities of the organisations involved in the publication and production of crime statistics in Scotland. The Police and Fire Reform (Scotland) Act 2012 and its associated secondary legislation and guidance set out the legislative framework for the new policing landscape and replaced previous legislation.

3.1 Police Scotland

Police Scotland collect management information for operational policing purposes. This administrative data source is also used to provide a data return to the Scottish Government on the number of crimes and offences recorded by the police, as well as the number cleared up (detected), for each financial year.

Police Scotland statistics are managed, collated and analysed by the Police Scotland Demand & Productivity Unit. Independent scrutiny of Police Scotland’s performance is also undertaken by the SPA who examine statistical information at regular board meetings.

3.1.1 Crime Registrars

The Crime Registrars within Police Scotland ensure that crimes in Scotland are recorded ethically. Further information is available in the Crime Registrars chapter.

3.2 Scottish Police Authority

The Scottish Police Authority (SPA) is responsible for:

The SPA use their performance framework to carry out their scrutiny and assurance function of policing. The framework consists of:

  • The Annual Review of Policing – a statutory annual review of policing performance in Scotland
  • The Strategic Police Plan Delivery Review – a public quarterly review of the evidence to support the Strategic Police Plan objectives and to inform the Annual Review of Policing
  • Police Scotland Performance Report- a public quarterly operational policing performance report aligned to the Annual Police Plan and Strategic Policing Priorities that includes both quantitative data and qualitative evidence.
  • SPA Corporate Performance Report - a public quarterly report that includes SPA corporate performance information
  • SPA Forensic Services Performance Report -- a public quarterly report that includes SPA forensic services performance information
  • A performance assurance role that provides analysis and assessment of data and information presented by Police Scotland and external partners.

3.3 Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland

Although Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland (HMICS) is not involved in the publication and production of crime statistics, HMICS does conduct regular audits of crime recording to ensure that crimes are recorded by the police in accordance with the Scottish Crime Recording Standard and Counting Rules. Further information on HMICS audits is available in the HMICS audits section of the Data suppliers' Quality Assurance principles, standards and quality checks chapter.

3.4 Scottish Government

The Scottish Government collects data on police recorded crime from Police Scotland and publishes this as National Statistics. The primary aim of National Statistics in Scotland is to provide an accurate, up-to-date, comprehensive and meaningful picture of the volume of crime with which the police in Scotland are faced, to support the formulation and monitoring of social policies by government and others.

The Scottish Government supports delivery of policies that are focused on the key national outcomes of:

  • We live in communities that are inclusive, empowered, resilient and safe
  • We grow up loved, safe and respected so that we realise our full potential
  • We respect, protect and fulfil human rights and live free from discrimination

The evidence shapes, informs and measures progress towards The Vision for Justice in Scotland.

3.4.1 ScotStat Crime and Justice Committee

Statisticians in the Scottish Government’s Justice Analytical Services division are members of the ScotStat Crime and Justice Committee, the remit of which is:

Through liaison between users and providers of statistics on crime and justice: to identify the key strategic statistical information required by all interested parties; and to develop and implement a strategy for prioritising and meeting these needs while minimising the burden on data suppliers and maintaining data quality fit for purpose.

3.5 Scottish Crime Recording Board

All of the aforementioned organisations work through the Scottish Crime Recording Board (SCRB). Further information is available in the SCRB chapter.



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