The British Crime Survey
What is the British Crime Survey?
The British Crime Survey is a key source of information about levels of crime and public attitudes to crime. It is viewed as particularly important as it includes information about crimes which are not reported to the police. This makes it a valuable alternative to police recorded crime statistics.
The British Crime Survey also includes information on perceptions of the criminal justice system and attitudes towards crime.
The British Crime Survey:
- Is a victimisation survey in which adults living in private households are asked about their experiences of crime in face-to-face interviews.
- Currently interviews over 51,000 people aged 16 or over every year.
- Is a survey of a representative sample of people resident in England and Wales (the British Crime Survey
- does not sample people in Scotland or Northern Ireland, which have separate surveys: the Scottish Crime & Justice Survey and the Northern Ireland Crime & Victimisation Survey.)
- Asks about people’s experiences and perceptions of crime
- Includes questions on people’s attitudes towards crime-related topics (including, for example, anti-social behaviour, the police, and criminal justice system)
- Provides what many criminologists consider to be a very reliable measure of the extent of victimisation and of national trends over time
- Is not affected by whether the public report crime or by changes to the way in which the police record crime
Police Recorded Crime is different to the British Crime Survey. Police recorded crime:
- Is based on figures which are supplied by the police to the Home Office
- Covers crimes which are reported to and recorded by the police
- Is a reliable measure of trends in well-reported crimes and also the less common but more serious crimes
- Is also an important indicator of police workload
- Provides data for small geographic areas