Recorded Crime Statistics in Scotland: user guide

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

19. Revisions policy

Amendments to crime and offence records will always arise after data has been submitted by Police Scotland to the Scottish Government. Some crime or offence records may, on further investigation by the police, be re-designated to not constitute a crime or offence (see the No criming chapter). In other cases the original crime or offence may be re-classified, which could shift the record between different crime or offence groups (for example, if a common assault was found on further investigation to be a serious assault, it would switch from Group 6 - Miscellaneous offences to Group 1 - Non-sexual crimes of violence).

These amendments to crime and offence records, which arise after data has been submitted by Police Scotland to the Scottish Government, are not included in subsequent Recorded Crime in Scotland bulletin series. No revisions to previously published data are made. However, any discrepancies or errors that are discovered in the recorded crime data will always be corrected.

Each quarterly submission of data to the Scottish Government contains revisions back to quarter 1 of the 2013-14 reporting year, reflecting the amendments described above. To assess the extent of these amendments, we have compared the crime and offence data published for 2019-20 (which was submitted to the Scottish Government in April 2020 (via ScOMIS)) with what SEBP reported for the same period one year later (April 2021). Table 19.1 shows the results of this exercise.

Table 19.1: Revisions of crimes recorded by the police, Scotland, 2019-20
  Number & Percentage
Crime or Offence Group 2019-20 Reporting Year  
Submitted in April 2020 Submitted in April 2021 Difference % Difference
Total Crime and Offences 497,071 494,162 -2,909 -0.6%
Total Crime 246,409 244,116 -2,293 -0.9%
Group 1 Non Sexual Violent Crime 9,316 9,313 -3 0.0%
Group 2 Sexual Crime 13,364 13,506 142 1.1%
Group 3 Crimes of Dishonesty 111,409 109,460 -1,949 -1.7%
Group 4 Fire Raising / Vandalism etc. 47,731 48,175 444 0.9%
Group 5 Other Crimes 64,589 63,662 -927 -1.4%
Total Offences 250,662 250,046 -616 -0.2%
Group 6 Miscellaneous Offences 128,755 128,634 -121 -0.1%
Group 7 Motor Vehicle Offences 121,907 121,412 -495 -0.4%

As with our analysis in previous years, this comparison 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 2019-20 still provide a sufficiently accurate measure of the extent of police recorded crimes and offences. On a proportional basis the biggest impact is on Group 3 Crimes of Dishonesty, where a net 1,949 fewer crimes have been recorded following no-criming and reclassification between groups. This has reduced the number of Crimes of Dishonesty by 1.7% from 111,409 to 109,460.

We repeat this exercise annually, as a quality assurance exercise, to confirm that further amendments remain minimal. Despite the fact 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 are on a like-for-like basis. As such, the previous years data used in the current bulletin remains that which was submitted originally, to ensure this is consistent with the timetable followed for the submission of data each year (i.e. the same amount of time has elapsed for amendments to records for each reporting year).

This analysis demonstrates that a more up-to-date set of figures are available from Police Scotland than included in this National Statistics publication. Given this the Scottish Crime Recording Board (SCRB) was asked to assess whether any amendment to our revisions policy should be made before the 2015-16 publication. In light of the minimal level of change following the original submission of data, the SCRB concluded in December 2015 that no changes were necessary to our revisions policy as our current approach was simple to understand and kept open the possibility of future publications coming out earlier in the year. As such, the existing revisions policy and practice will continue to be followed until such time as users request any reconsideration.



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