Recorded crime provide a measure of trends in reported crimes. They are an important indicator of police workload and can be used for local crime-pattern analysis.
However, they do not include crimes that have not been reported to the police or that the police decide not to record.
Police recorded crime statistics cover all ‘notifiable’ offences recorded by the police. This does not mean all criminal offences, as almost all the more minor summary offences are excluded. However, the police may record these for their own investigations.
The term ‘notifiable’ covers offences that are notified to the Home Office, and they are collectively known as ‘recorded crime’. These include the ‘serious acquisitive crimes’ such as burglary, theft of and from a vehicle, robbery and assault with injury.
Police recording practice is governed by the Home Office Counting Rules and the National Crime Recording Standard (NCRS). This was introduced to make crime recording more consistent.
The crime recording process
The crime recording process has three key stages:
Reporting a crime: someone reports to the police that a crime has been committed or the police observe or discover a crime. In these cases the police should register a crime-related incident, and then decide whether to record it as a crime.
Recording a crime: the police decide to record the report of a crime and now need to determine how many crimes to record and what their offence types are. The Home Office issues rules to police forces on the counting and classification of crime. These Counting Rules for Recorded Crime are mostly straightforward, as most crimes are counted as ‘one crime per victim’ and the offence committed is obvious (e.g. a domestic burglary). However, they also cover special situations where more than one offence has taken place, maybe on several occasions over a period of time, or there is more than one offender or victim.
Detecting a crime: once a crime is recorded and investigated, and evidence is collected to link the crime to a suspect, it can be detected according to criteria in the Detections Guidance contained in the Home Office Counting Rules. In many cases, someone is charged or cautioned or the court has taken the offence into consideration (TIC). The detections guidance covers these detection methods as well as certain others where the police take no further action.
When sufficient evidence is found to say that a person has committed a crime, the classification of detected crime can be used. In other words, the term detected crime is used when a suspect has been dealt with by way of charge, caution, summons, formal reprimand/warning or the offence has been taken on by the courts.
Sanctioned detections refer to detected crimes where the suspect has been dealt with by way of a charge, summons, caution, formal reprimand/warning or the offence has been taken into consideration by the courts.
(Information from the Home Office website)