Number, and rate per 10,000 population, of crimes and offences recorded by the police
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Statistics on crimes and offences recorded by the police in Scotland, including number of crimes/offences and crime/offence rates per 10,000 population recorded by Police Scotland.
This data covers the number, and rate per 10,000 population, of crimes and offences recorded by the police in Scotland from 1996/97 to 2021/22 and by Local Authority. For more information on the recorded crime figures please see the Scottish Government Recorded Crime in Scotland website.
Crimes and offences per 10,000 population rates are calculated as follows: (total number of recorded crimes / mid-year population estimate) x 10,000. When calculating the rates of crimes and offences per 10,000 population, the relevant mid-year population estimates produced by the National Records of Scotland are used. The statistical return from which the data are taken is a simple count of the numbers of crimes and offences recorded and cleared up by the police. Returns are submitted quarterly from Police Scotland at local authority level which allows a national total to be obtained. Crimes and offences are included against the year in which they are recorded by the police. This is not necessarily the year in which the crime or offence took place, the year in which the accused is brought to trial for the crime or offence, or the year in which the case is finally disposed of by the courts. Amendments (such as the deletion of incidents found on investigation not to be criminal) which arise after the end of the financial year are not incorporated.
Note: Due to 2021 mid-year population estimates being published after the release of the Recorded Crime in Scotland 2021-22 bulletin, the 2020 mid-year population estimates have been used to calculate the 2021 population rates.
Contraventions of Scottish criminal law are divided for statistical purposes into crimes and offences. “Crime” is generally used for the more serious criminal acts; the less serious termed “offences”, although the term “offence” may also be used in relation to serious breaches of criminal law. The distinction is made only for working purposes and the “seriousness” of the offence is generally related to the maximum sentence that can be imposed. For further information please see the Recorded Crime Statistics in Scotland: user guide.
These crime statistics are presented using the new set of crime and offence groups approved by the Scottish Crime Recording Board, following a public consultation of users. Responses to this consultation were published in March 2022 alongside a report outlining a package of changes to the production of Scotland’s recorded crime statistics. The changes include the introduction of a new set of crime and offence groups and categories. The largest change is the transfer of Common assault and Stalking from the Miscellaneous offences group to the Non-sexual crimes of violence group, and by extension the recorded crime total for Scotland. To maintain time series analysis, all data has been back-revised. More information on the new crime grouping structure is provided in the Recorded Crime in Scotland 2021-22 bulletin.
This dataset does not contain any sensitive or personal information. Results are published on an aggregated level.
This data is based on Police Scotland’s management information which has undergone further quality assurance work.
Figures are checked against previous years and comparable sources. Anything unusual or which requires further explanation is fed back to Police Scotland for their attention. Any amendments are carried out and the final data is used to produce a set of data tables which can be used to check the final dataset.
During the quality assurance checking process, it is possible for errors to be found in data for previous years. Whilst figures are not routinely revised, any changes or corrections made to previously published data are suitably explained in line with the Scottish Government’s guidance on Producing Official Statistics. Care is taken when processing, quality assuring and analysing the data, however this is occasionally subject to the inaccuracies that are inherent in any large administrative recording system. Further details of the quality assurance process can be found in the Recorded Crime Statistics in Scotland: user guide.
A quality assurance process is in operation which includes automated validation procedures and manual checks for significant changes in the data and unrealistic values. Any questionable values are referred back to Police Scotland for either correction or for an explanation to be provided for any unusual values. Police Scotland are required to sign-off their data at the end of the validation process. Bulletins are subjected to a secondary level of checking by statisticians who have not been involved in the production process.
Further breakdowns of crimes and offences are available from 1971 onwards. Please note that due to local government reorganisation, data for 1975 are not available.
The reporting year was changed from calendar to financial year, with the last reported calendar year being 1994 and the first reported financial year being 1995-96. Information is electronically available via the Scottish Government’s website dating back to 1988. Long term, as well as short term, comparability of some crime groups over time will be affected due to changes in legislation. An example of this is the introduction of the Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009, which came into force on 1 December 2010. Further details regarding this can be found in the Recorded Crime Statistics in Scotland: user guide.
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 on the National Crime Recording Standard (NCRS) and Home Office Counting Rules for recorded crime. Like its counterpart in England and Wales, the SCRS aims to give consistency in crime recording. The main principles of the SCRS itself are similar to the NCRS for England and Wales with regard to when a crime should be recorded. However there are various differences between the respective Counting Rules in that they specify different approaches for counting the number of crimes that should be recorded as a result of a single incident. For example, crimes recorded in England and Wales tend to be incident based where the Principle Crime Rule states that if the sequence of crimes in an incident, or a complex crime, contains more than one type of crime, then the most serious crime should be counted. For example, an incident where an intruder breaks into a home and assaults the sole occupant would be recorded as two crimes in Scotland, while in England and Wales it would be recorded as one crime. 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 between England and Wales and Scotland has been published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and can be accessed on the ONS website.
Crime Statistics for England and Wales are published quarterly on the ONS website. 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 applies in England and Wales. Thus there are similar comparability considerations between recorded crime statistics for Northern Ireland and Scotland. Crime statistics for Northern Ireland are collected and published separately.
Due to differences in legislation, there are also comparability issues when comparing the statistics for the recorded number of crimes given in the Recorded Crime 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.
Information is presented at a national (Scotland) level, with core tables provided at Local Authority level.
Primary source of detailed and reliable information on recorded crimes and offences in Scotland. Statistics on recorded crime and offences inform the Scottish Government’s Vision for Justice in Scotland. This was published in February 2022 and sets out a transformative vision for the whole justice system in Scotland. The 2022 strategy outlines how the Scottish Government will transform the justice system, through recovering from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. Further information on users and uses of the statistics is provided in the Recorded Crime Statistics in Scotland: user guide.
This data covers incidents recorded over 12 months between 1 April to 31 March, from 1996/97 to 2021/22.
The statistical bulletin is published approximately three months after the end of the year in question. This is to allow Police Scotland’s statisticians to collate the required information, as well as the time needed to allow for quality checking the data. The publication date is advertised four to six weeks in advance on the Scottish Government website Official Statistics: forthcoming publication calendar.
Revisions and corrections to this publication are dealt with in accordance with the Scottish Government’s guidance on Producing Official Statistics.
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Crime Or Offence
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The data in this dataset are stored in the graph: http://statistics.gov.scot/graph/recorded-crime
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