Information

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


23. Comparability across the UK

23.1 England and Wales

Recorded crime statistics for England and Wales are not directly comparable with those in Scotland. The recorded crime statistics for Scotland are collected on the basis of the Scottish Crime Recording Standard (SCRS), which was introduced in 2004. In England and Wales the recording of crime statistics are based upon the National Crime Recording Standard (NCRS), which was introduced in 2002, and Home Office Counting Rules for Recorded Crime. As explained in the section on the National Crime Recording Standard and Home Office Counting Rules for Recorded Crime, although the main principles of the SCRS and the NCRS are the same, there are differences between the respective Counting Rules and therefore differences in crime recording practices.

In addition, differences in legislation and common law have also to be taken into account when comparing the crime statistics for England and Wales and Scotland. A guide to the comparability of recorded crime data between England and Wales and Scotland has been published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Crime Statistics for England and Wales are published quarterly on the ONS website.

23.2 Northern Ireland

The legal system in Northern Ireland is based on that of England and Wales, and the Police Service for Northern Ireland (PSNI) has the same notifiable offence list for recorded crime as used in England and Wales. In addition, the PSNI has adopted the NCRS and Home Office Counting Rules for recorded crime that apply in England and Wales. Thus, there are similar comparability considerations between recorded crime statistics for Northern Ireland and Scotland to those detailed above for comparing the crime statistics for England and Wales and Scotland.

Crime statistics for Northern Ireland are collected and published separately.

23.3 Internationally

Due to differences in legislation, there are also comparability issues when comparing the statistics for the recorded number of crimes and offences given in the Recorded Crime in Scotland bulletin internationally. Data users are always advised to consult any relevant and accompanying metadata, and to proceed with caution when formulating any arguments or drawing any conclusions from international recorded crime comparisons.

Contact

Email: Justice_Analysts@gov.scot

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