Dear Jon,

Review of the quality of police recorded crime statistics for England and Wales

Today we published our review of the quality of police recorded crime statistics for England and Wales, produced by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

I would like to thank your team for its positive engagement throughout the review and for your ongoing commitment to improving these statistics.

Overall, we found that police forces have made significant improvements to crime recording since 2014. This has given us greater confidence in the quality of the police recorded crime data.

We identified a range of strengths regarding the Home Office’s processes. Your quality assurance processes for the police recorded crime data have been strengthened with the creation of the Home Office Data Hub. We welcome your work on improving the quality of data on certain crime types such as knife crime and domestic abuse, through the National Data Quality Improvement Service. The programme has increased the accuracy and consistency of data between police forces.

To improve the quality of the police recorded crime statistics, you need to strengthen your oversight of police force data quality. Our report makes three recommendations for strengthening oversight, including gaining a better understanding of how police forces quality assure their own data, and understanding the strengths and limitations of the crime recording IT systems used by police forces.

We expect your teams to work with police forces to build this knowledge. They should also consult the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC), which is working to introduce more-standard approaches to data quality. In addition, our report calls for greater collaboration with ONS and HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services to support quality improvements.

You and ONS should work together to develop an action plan that sets out how you are going to address the recommendations in our report. These recommendations are what we deem as critical to address before we undertake a reassessment of compliance with the Code of Practice for Statistics. The action plan should be published by early 2025.

We look forward to continuing to work with you and your team as you implement these improvements.

Yours sincerely,

Ed Humpherson