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Release: Crime in England and Wales, year ending September 2015

Released: 21 January 2016 (Latest) Next edition: 21 April 2016


John Flatley

Public Policy Division

Telephone: +44 (0)20 7592 8695

Categories: Crime and Justice, Crime, Crime Trends, Criminal Damage and Anti-Social Behaviour, Drug Crime, Property Crime, Victims of Crime, Violent and Sexual Crime, Police, Attitudes to Policing

Frequency of release: Quarterly

Language: English

Geographical coverage: England and Wales

Geographical breakdown: Country

Survey name(s): Crime Survey for England and Wales

  • The Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) shows there were an estimated 6.6 million incidents of crime covered by the survey in the year ending September 2015. This latest estimate was not significantly different compared with the previous year’s. 

  • There was a 6% increase in police recorded crime compared with the previous year, with 4.3 million offences recorded in the year ending September 2015. Most of this rise is thought to be due to a greater proportion of reports of crime being recorded in the last year, following improved compliance with national recording standards by police forces. 

  • Improvements in recording of crime are thought to have particulary affected some categories of violent crime recorded by the police. There was a 27% rise in violence against the person offences (an additional 185,666 offences) which was largely driven by increases within the violence without injury sub-group (up by 130,207 offences; a 37% increase). The CSEW estimate for violent crime showed no significant change compared with the previous year’s survey. 

  • There were also increases in some of the more serious types of police recorded violence, including a 9% rise in offences involving knives or sharp instruments and a 4% increase in offences involving firearms. Such offences are less likely to be prone to changes in recording practices though there is some anecdotal evidence to suggest that a tightening of recording procedures may also be contributing to some of the increase in some forces. 

  • Sexual offences recorded by the police continued to rise with the latest figures up 36% on the previous year; equivalent to an additional 26,606 offences. The numbers of rapes (33,431) and other sexual offences (66,178) were at the highest level since the introduction of the National Crime Recording Standard in year ending March 2003. As well as improvements in recording, this is also thought to reflect a greater willingness of victims to come forward to report such crimes. 

  • There was a 5% increase in the volume of fraud offences referred to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) at the City of London Police. Over 0.6 million offences were referred to NFIB, including 234,878 offences reported by victims to Action Fraud (the UK’s national fraud reporting centre), 283,654 referrals from Cifas (a UK-wide fraud prevention service) and 86,066 cases from FFA UK (that represents the UK payments industry). It is known that many cases of fraud do not come to the attention of the police, and these figures provide a very partial picture.


The most recent crime statistics from the Crime Survey for England and Wales and police recorded crime.

In accordance with the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007, statistics based on police recorded crime data have been assessed against the Code of Practice for Official Statistics and found not to meet the required standard for designation as National Statistics. Data from the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) continue to be badged as National Statistics.

The CSEW is a face-to-face victimisation survey in which people resident in households in England and Wales are asked about their experiences of a selected number of offences in the 12 months prior to the interview. It covers both children aged 10-15 and adults aged 16 and over, but does not cover those living in group residences (such as care homes, student halls of residence and prisons), or crimes against commercial or public sector bodies. For the population and offence types it covers, the CSEW is a valuable source for providing robust estimates on a consistent basis over time, as it has a consistent methodology and is unaffected by changes in levels of reporting to the police, recording practice or police activity.

It is able to capture all offences experienced by those interviewed, not just those that have been reported to, and recorded by, the police. It covers a broad range of victim-based crimes experienced by the resident household population. However, there are some serious but relatively low volume offences, such as homicide and sexual offences that are not included in its main estimates. The survey until very recently excluded fraud and cyber crime, however following the success of recent development work, new questions have been added to the survey from the beginning of October 2015 with initial estimates (based on three months data) beginning to appear in Summer 2016. The findings of the field trial and its recommendations, including estimates of fraud and cybercrime, were published in a report Methodological note - CSEW Fraud and Cyber-crime development: Field trial - October 2015 (382.4 Kb Pdf) alongside the statistical bulletin for the year ending June 2015.

Police recorded crime data are supplied to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) by the Home Office, who are responsible for the collation of recorded crime data supplied by police forces in England and Wales. Police recorded crime figures cover selected offences that have been reported to and recorded by the police. The coverage of police recorded crime statistics is defined by the Notifiable Offence List (NOL), which includes a broad range of offences, from murder to minor criminal damage, theft and public order offences. The NOL excludes less serious offences that are dealt with exclusively at magistrates’ courts.

Police recorded crime is the primary source of sub-national crime statistics and for relatively serious, but low volume, crimes that are not well measured by a sample survey. It covers victims (including, for example, residents of institutions and tourists) and sectors (for example commercial bodies) excluded from the CSEW sample. While the police recorded crime series covers a wider population and a broader set of offences than the CSEW, it does not include crimes which do not come to the attention of the police or that are not recorded by them. Recorded crime figures are an important indicator of police workload. They can be used for analysis of crime at a local level and provide a good measure of trends in well-reported crimes.

The full UK Statistics Authority assessment report on the de-designation of police recorded crime data can be found on the UK Statistics Authority website. The ONS have published a response to the UK Statistics Authority’s assessment of crime statistics, including progress on implementing the requirements set out by the Authority.

Following the Home Secretary’s acceptance of the recommendations of the National Statistician’s Review of crime statistics in June 2011 the collation and publication of crime statistics moved to the ONS on 1st April 2012. For previous publications please see the Home Office web-pages.

For information on how to interpret the crime statistics please see the User Guide to Crime Statistics for England and Wales and our on-line Guide to Finding Crime Statistics.

National Statistician’s Crime Statistics Advisory Committee

In line with the National Statistician’s recommendations an independent Crime Statistics Advisory Committee has also been formed to provide advice on issues related to the collection and presentation of these statistics. Please see the UK Statistics Authority website for further information and minutes of meetings.

Further sources of police recorded crime data

Historic police recorded crime data tables can be found on the Home Office web-pages.

Police forces publish provisional recorded crime data at street level on the website (the Office for National Statistics is not responsible for the content of this website).

Further survey information

Further Crime Survey information is available from the Crime Statistics methodological page. This includes:

  • a technical report covering all aspects of the CSEW survey design, including sampling strategy, field operations, response rates, weighting methodology, and data processing

  • a copy of the CSEW survey questionnaires 

Anonymised datasets from the Crime Survey for England and Wales (in SPSS format) currently are available on:

Researchers, including students, who need data for dissertations or practical work can use these datasets.

See the following websites for the Scottish Crime and Justice Survey and the Northern Ireland Crime Survey.

The United Kingdom Statistics Authority has designated these statistics as National Statistics, in accordance with the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007 and signifying compliance with the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.

Designation can be broadly interpreted to mean that the statistics:

  • meet identified user needs;
  • are well explained and readily accessible;
  • are produced according to sound methods; and
  • are managed impartially and objectively in the public interest.

Once statistics have been designated as National Statistics it is a statutory requirement that the Code of Practice shall continue to be observed.

Content from the Office for National Statistics.
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