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

26. Potential future considerations

26.1 Individual level data

Currently the Scottish Government collects aggregated numbers of crimes and offences from Police Scotland, meaning that no information about victims, perpetrators or the individual crimes or offences and incidents are available.

We note that some of our users have an interest in more analysis of individual level crime data, which would allow, for example, new information on the age and gender of victims and perpetrators. Police Scotland are currently in the process of introducing a new system to record crime. The introduction of the new system may provide opportunities to provide details on individual crimes (rather than aggregate information). While this will be several years into the future, it could potentially allow us to produce further information on the characteristics of crime, such as demographic details of the victims/accused, etc.

The Autumn 2021 consultation will be used to gauge if there is user appetite for this type of data.

It should be noted that the Scottish Government does publish companion Official Statistics bulletins that are based on individual level crime and offence data on a number of topics:

26.2 Cyber-crime

Where reported to the police, Cyber-Enabled crime will be recorded under the specific offence code for the registered crime (for example fraud, including online banking fraud and mass marketing fraud, and thefts such as using technology to steal personal data).

The Recorded Crime in Scotland 2020/21 bulletin contains a chapter relating to cyber crime. This topical section presents findings of a study into police recorded cyber crime in Scotland, based on a random sample of police recorded crimes. This includes an estimate of the impact of a recent procedural change to the recording of cyber crime and details on the characteristics of cyber crime.

With the development of the single crime recording system referred to above, provision has been made for the inclusion of a 'cyber-crime' marker that will be able to provide a more accurate understanding of where there has been a Cyber element to a crime. As data becomes available from the new IT system, we will keep under review how we can best collect data on cyber-enabled crime.

HMICS is acutely aware of the increase in cyber-enabled crime and anticipates this trend will only continue. Understanding the true nature and extent of cyber-enabled crime through use of cyber-crime markers is an area HMICS will continue to scrutinise in any relevant inspection work, as this is necessary to assess the scope of such activity to meet demand.

26.3 Levels of geography

We currently present data at Scotland level, as well as broken down to Local Authority level. With the introduction of the new Police Scotland system it may provide opportunities to provide data at a lower geographical area (e.g Datazone).

The Autumn 2021 consultation will be used to gauge if there is user appetite for this type of data.

26.4 Interactive data exploring tool

Recorded crime data is current made available in excel tables which sit alongside the annual publication and also on the platform. The Scottish Crime and Justice Survey have recently introduced an interactive data exploring tool.

The Autumn 2021 consultation will be used to gauge if there is user appetite for data to be disseminated in this format.

26.5 Crime severity score

A Crime Severity Score is designed to reflect the relative harm of offending, rather than how many crimes there are, so gives some crime/offence categories a higher weight than other ones, based on sentencing information.

England and Wales currently publish a Crime Severity Score (as experimental statistics). Crime Severity Score (Experimental Statistics) - Office for National Statistics (

Under this measure of crime, murder is given the top weighting - 7,973 points per offence - while cannabis possession has the lowest of 2 points per offence.

The Autumn 2021 consultation will be used to gauge if there is user appetite for this measure of crime to be developed in Scotland.

26.6 Open data

We note that some users are supportive of the publication of non-personal data in an open format. Consideration is being given to the way users can access data, such as providing data in an open data format, consistent with the wider Scottish Government Open Data Strategy.

We currently make available some data on The Autumn 2021 consultation will be used to gauge if there is user appetite for more data to be made available in this format.



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