This user guide provides detailed information on the Recorded Crime in Scotland statistical bulletin series, published by the Scottish Government, and the data that are contained in the bulletin. It is designed to be a useful reference guide with explanatory notes regarding the updates, issues, and classifications which are crucial to the production and presentation of crime statistics in Scotland.
Figures on the levels and trends of crime in Scotland are primarily based on two sets of crime statistics: the police recorded crime data and the Scottish Crime and Justice Survey (SCJS). Each source has different strengths and limitations but together they provide a more comprehensive picture of crime than could be obtained from either series alone. Further information is available in the SCJS chapter.
The statistical return from which most of the figures in the Recorded Crime in Scotland bulletin are taken is a simple count of the numbers of crimes and offences recorded and cleared up by the police in Scotland. Only data from the Police Service of Scotland, hereafter referred to as Police Scotland throughout this user guide, are included in the main findings and tables included in the bulletin. One return is made, split by each local authority in Scotland, and these are aggregated to give a national total. Additionally, data on the total number of crimes and offences recorded and cleared up by the British Transport Police and the Ministry of Defence Police in Scotland are included in the Annex of each bulletin.
In addition to the annual Recorded Crime in Scotland bulletin, a number of companion bulletins based on police recorded crime data are published by the Scottish Government on domestic abuse, homicide, drug seizures and crimes and offences involving firearms. Further information is available in the Other statistical bulletins using police data chapter. Together these statistics are used to inform the Scottish Government's Justice in Scotland: vision and priorities. These statistics are also used by a wide range of stakeholders to monitor trends, for policy research and development, and for research purposes. Further information is available in the Users and uses of recorded crime statistics chapter.
Statistics on Recorded Crime in Scotland are designated by the Office for Statistics Regulation (OSR) as National Statistics, meaning that they meet the highest standards of trustworthiness, quality and public value. The statistics on recorded crime clear up rates remain published as Official Statistics. OSR confirmed the National Statistics status of Recorded Crime in Scotland most recently in 2019. Further information is available in the UK Statistics Authority assessment chapter.
Scottish Government statistical bulletins based on police recorded crime data can be accessed from the Recorded Crime in Scotland collection of the Scottish Government website.
This User Guide is intended to support and inform users about police recorded crime statistics in Scotland.
For further information about Recorded Crime in Scotland, please email JusticeAnalysts@gov.scot.