Crime Surveys


The recent release of the quarterly crime statistics has been greeted, as normal, by self congratulations from the governing politicians and cynicism from the public.

Compiling crime statistics is a complex procedure, the official reports published by the Office of National Statistics is full of caveats and cautions. Most of which are ignored by self serving politicians.

The two main sources of information for the quarterly report are the Crime Survey for England & Wales (CSEW) and Police recorded crime from the 43 force areas plus British Transport police.

The CSEW estimates that there were 7.1 million incidents of crime against households and resident adults in the year ending June 2014, a decrease of 16%.

In contrast police recorded crime showed no overall change for this period with 3.7 million offences recorded.


Crime trends

Crime survey


                Link to full Document



Survey Limitations 


Both the CSEW and Police reported crime figures have severe limitations, in fact concerns regarding the consistency of police figures has resulted in the data no longer being given National Statistical status.



The survey excludes those not resident in households such as student halls of residence, care homes, prisons and other institutions.

The survey does not include crimes against businesses, sexual offences, fraud, homicide, drug offences and cyber crime.

The survey does cover crimes committed against children (10- 15 year olds) but data is not included in main statistics.

The survey is also susceptible to error associated with sampling and respondents recalling past events. 

Police Recorded Crime

Excludes offences not reported to or discovered by the police.

Does not include less serious offences dealt with by magistrates courts.

Data can be influenced by changes of recording procedure and police activity.

Relies on all reported crime being recorded correctly.



Other sources of data


Business Crime

The Commercial Victimisation survey is conducted by the Home Office. The latest publication covers four industrial sections; agriculture, forestry and fishing; wholesale and retail trade; accommodation, food services activities and arts, entertainment, recreation. Between them, these four sectors account for just over one-third of all business premises in England and Wales. Two further sections were part of the 2012 publication, manufacturing and transport and storage, data from both surveys have been combined to give a broader picture of business crime.

The estimated number of crimes in these business sectors for this 12 month period is 7.3 million, of which 5.9 million were in the retail and wholesale trade. Of the 5.9 million incidents, 55% were shoplifting offences, a total of 3.3 million. Of these only 321,839 appeared in the police reported crime data ie less than 10% of incidents.



Business Crime Infographic



              Link to full Document


Sexual Offences

There were 67,805 incidents recorded by the police in the 12 month period up to June 2014. A publication in 2013 “An overview of sexual offending in England & Wales” estimated that there were between 430,000 and 517,000 victims in a 12 month period of which 54,310 were recorded by the police, 10.5 -12.5% of incidents.


Fraud is no longer recorded at a local level but by Action Fraud run by the City of London police. In the period being considered 209,631 offences had been reported.

The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) also collect data from industrial bodies. Which include CIFAS who collect data on application, identity and first party fraud and FFA UK which share information about criminals related to fraud rather than the number of offences.

The NFIB does not collect data on “card not present” fraud, lost or stolen cards and ATM fraud, resulting in the vast majority of offences being not recorded.

The total number of offences recorded, by NFIB during the period was 363,092. It is estimated that a further 3.6 - 3.8 million incidents of plastic card and bank fraud occurred but is unrecorded.


532 homicides were recorded by the police in the year up to June 2014.

Drug Offences

192,925 drug offences were recorded by the police during this period, 28,871 were for drug trafficking.

Drug offences falls under the “Crimes against society” category of which in total there were 398,866 incidents recorded by the police. These offences are heavily influenced by police activity rather than being reported by the public, so it is difficult to estimate the true figure of incidents taking place.

Cyber crime

Virtually impossible to estimate the number of non fraud related cyber crimes, hacking, virus infections etc. However the Commercial survey for 2012 estimated 180,000 such incidents in the four sectors under consideration.

A report from 2013 “Cyber dependent crimes” shows that only 1% of computer misuse crime is reported to the police via Action Fraud.

Action Fraud data for this period shows 18,416 incidents of hacking, computer virus and denial of service attacks. If this represents 1% of offences the estimated total would be 1.8 million incidents in the 12 month period.



               Link to full Document


CSEW crime experienced by children.

The latest survey interviewed 2,900 children (10 -15 yr olds) about their personal experiences of crime. The estimated total for this age group was 769,000 over this period.

Other non-notifiable crimes

Data on these offences come from magistrate court cases where the defendant is found guilt or admit culpability by accepting a penalty notice. In the 12 months up to June 2014 the number of convictions was 963,000.






Combining the estimates of crime from the data available, the total number of crimes committed in England and Wales during the 12 months to June 2014 is in the region of 23 million. Whether this is high or lower than some point in the past is purely a guess.

There is little doubt that certain offences are not as common as they once were but this volumn is being replaced with new crimes which did not exist at all or to any great extent even a few years ago,