Dear Senior Statistician


I am writing to you following our review of Police Service Northern Ireland (PSNI) Police Recorded Injury Road Traffic Collisions and Casualties Northern Ireland statistics against the Code of Practice for Statistics. The statistics have been considered as part of a wider review of the devolved nations’ road safety statistics, following our compliance check of Road Accidents and Safety statistics for Great Britain produced by the Department for Transport. The statistics were reviewed against the three pillars of the Code: trustworthiness, quality and value. These are crucial in ensuring that the statistics serve the public good and support the police to implement and monitor road safety initiatives in Northern Ireland.

I am pleased to confirm that these statistics should continue to be designated as National Statistics. We found several positive examples in the way that PSNI produces and presents these statistics. We also found many positive examples of PSNI seeking to enhance the quality of the data. For example:

  • We commend the team for its thorough and robust quality assurance processes. Dedicated administrative staff carry out validation checks on incoming data. These checks are supplemented by a range of quality assurance checks carried out by the lead statistician, including following up any unusual entries with the original officer. The team is able to identify the number of records that are still to be submitted and works with police officers and the Occurrence Case Management Team to obtain these. The producer team cross-checks its figures with alternative data sources and the team’s expert subject knowledge allows it to identify and investigate patterns and outliers.
  • In order to further improve quality management, the team recently reviewed its analytical code and process. This has resulted in a streamlined, well-documented process and fewer manual steps, which has reduced the risk of error.
  • The statistics are well presented using figures and tables. The accompanying user guide explains the data collection process and the risks to data quality during the recording process in a manner that effectively highlights the strengths and limitations of the data.

We have identified several areas where we consider that improvements could further enhance the public value of the statistics:

  • We recommend that the team establish a stronger working partnership with other producer teams in the devolved administrations who use the STATS19 collection series. Greater collaboration could lead to greater input and influence during the STATS19 review process and ensure that the issues that concern devolved administrations are considered.
  • In line with the recommendations in our recent assessment of PSNI Motoring Offence Statistics, we encourage the team to consider enhancing its statistical commentary to provide information on related statistics, most notably the Motoring Offence Statistics and road safety statistics produced by the Department for Infrastructure. This would aid users in understanding changes in the numbers of road traffic collisions over time. We also encourage the team to publish a development plan for the statistics – this will be most important should there be any changes to the data collection process following the outcome of the STATS19 review.
  • Whilst the team has produced a comprehensive report on under-reporting of road traffic collisions within the accompanying user guide, we encourage the team to integrate some of the findings into the main statistical publication. Specifically, including the comparisons of rates of road traffic collisions with other data sources will give users a much clearer picture of the extent of under-reporting.
  • With official statistics producers in other devolved administrations having either moved to or considering new data recording systems, such as CRASH, to produce road traffic collision statistics, we encourage PSNI to keep under review the advantages and limitations of STATS19 and other methods of recording these data.

Our Travel, Transport and Tourism team will continue to engage with you and your team in the coming months to follow up on areas that have been highlighted for improvement. We would like to thank the team for their engagement and cooperation throughout the review process.

I am copying this letter to Siobhan Carey, Chief Executive NISRA; Stephen Donnelly, Senior Principal Statistician NISRA; Ruth Fulton, Head of NISRA Statistical Support and Business Planning; and Norma Broomfield, NISRA Statistical Support Branch.

Yours sincerely

Mark Pont
Assessment Programme Lead


Related Links:

Mark Pont to Glyn Jones, Welsh Government (March 2020)

Mark Pont to Roger Halliday, Scottish Government (March 2020)

Mark Pont to Michael Thompson, Dept for Infrastructure (NI) (March 2020)