The British Crime Survey (BCS) is an important source of information
about levels of crime and public attitudes to crime as well as
other criminal justice issues. The results play an important role
in informing Government policy.
The BCS measures the amount of crime in England and Wales (the
first survey covered Scotland as well, but now Scotland and Northern
Ireland carry out their own crime surveys) by asking people about
crimes they have experienced in the last year. The BCS includes
crimes which are not reported to the police, so it is an important
alternative to police records. The survey collects information
victims of crime
circumstances in which incidents occur
behaviour of offenders in committing crimes
In this way, the survey provides information to inform crime reduction
measures and to gauge their effectiveness.
The BCS is also an important source of information about other
topics, such as people’s perceptions of anti-social behaviour
and attitudes towards the criminal justice system, including the
police and the courts. The survey also looks at people’s
attitudes to crime, such as how much they fear crime and what measures
they take to avoid it.
you been asked to take part in the British Crime Survey?
you have been approached to take part in the survey you may
want to view our BCS
Frequently Asked Questions page which
gives further information for anyone who is wondering what
in the survey involves.
25 years of the BCS
In 2006 the British Crime Survey celebrated its 25th anniversary.
The survey was first carried out in 1982, collecting information
about people’s experiences of crime in 1981. The BCS
was then carried out in 1984, 1988, 1992, 1994, 1996, 1998,
2000 and 2001. Since 2001/02 the survey has run continuously.
Two independent reviews of the national crime statistics carried
out by the Statistics Commission and Professor Adrian Smith
reported during 2006. Recommendations from the reviews can
be found on the Reviews of crime statistics page.
are planning to commission further work to examine surveying
victimisation of homeless people and those living in institutions. The Commercial Victimisation Survey scope and method
will also be reviewed, with a view to re-running a survey in
Commercial Victimisation Survey
The Commercial Victimisation Survey (CVS) is a survey of crime
against small and medium-sized retail and manufacturing premises
in England and Wales. Read more on the Business
Offending, Crime and Justice Survey
The Offending, Crime and Justice Survey (OCJS) is the national
longitudinal, self-report offending survey for England and
Wales. Find out more on the Offending,
Crime and Justice survey page.
If you have any questions about the BCS or about any publications
relating to the BCS please email them to: