Inviting responses and views on proposed changes in statistical practice.

Home Office Statistical consultations

Changes to BCS sample design from April 2012

The Government’s Comprehensive Spending Review, which reported in October 2010, led to a reduction in Home Office budgets and resulted in a reduction in available expenditure for the BCS from April 2012 onwards. Given the main component of BCS costs is interviewer fees and expenses, a reduction in the actual sample size is required. The Home Office is proposing a reduction in the annual sample size of the BCS from a nationally representative achieved sample of 46,000 adults (aged 16 or over) to 35,000 adults. This will reduce the number of achieved interviews with children (aged 10 to 15 years) from 4,000 to 3,100 per year. A new sample design is proposed that will preserve the ability to produce estimates with reasonable levels of precision at police force area level based on a minimum sample of 650 interviews with adults per year.

This proposal follows methodological work which considers the feasibility of boosting police force area sample sizes by re-contacting BCS respondents using different modes of data collection. A report outlining this work is available at the BCS methodology page.

Users are invited to consider the proposals outlined in the consultation paper below:

Proposed changes to BCS sample design

Please send any comments on these proposals to by 12 January 2012.

Proposed changes to recorded crime classifications and presentation of recorded crime statistics

When the Home Secretary commissioned the National Statistician to undertake an independent review of crime statistics for England and Wales in December 2010, the terms of reference asked her to consider “whether or not the categories of notifiable offences for police recorded crime reported in the national statistics can be sensibly rationalised without reducing public trust or damaging transparency”.

The National Statistician found that there may be some scope to reduce the number of crime categories used for the reporting and collection of police recorded crime, and to consider how some offences currently excluded from notifiable crime might be reflected in published crime statistics. The National Statistician also stated that any change must be managed and introduced in a controlled and transparent way. She recommended that the issue should be considered by the new independent Advisory Committee on crime statistics that her Report also recommended be established. To inform the Committee’s consideration of these proposals, which will have an impact on the collection and presentation of crime statistics, producers and users are invited to comment on the proposals outlined in the consultation paper below:

Consultation on changes to recorded crime classifications and categories

Please send any comments on these proposals to by 12 January 2012.  Early responses will be able to be considered as part of the Advisory Committee’s initial deliberations on these proposals.

Ceasing data collection at Basic Command Unit level

The Coalition Agreement proposed to cut police bureaucracy and as part of this there has been a review of requirements for police forces to submit data to the Home Office. This has already resulted in reductions to the coverage, detail and frequency of a number of data collections not affecting National Statistics outputs. It has also been proposed that from April 2012 police forces should no longer be required to submit monthly totals of recorded crimes and detections at Basic Command Unit (BCU) level.

In the past, BCU level recorded crime and detections figures have been released annually alongside the July crime statistics publication. Recorded crime data will continue to be published at Police Force and Community Safety Partnership (CSP) level on a quarterly basis, and detections data will continue to be published at Force level on an annual basis. BCUs reflect the organisational structure of a force, with each BCU covering a particular geographic area. As they reflect management structures, BCU boundaries can change frequently, which can reduce the statistical utility of data collected at this level. A number of smaller forces have discontinued the BCU model altogether, operating in effect as single BCU forces. CSPs provide a more stable basis for statistical analysis at a similar geographic granularity and also have the advantage of aligning to local authority boundaries for which other data sets are generally available.

Please send any comments on these proposals to by 12 January 2012. 

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