Statistics on police recorded crime are published quarterly by Office for National Statistics (ONS), based on Home Office data collected from the 43 individual police forces in England and Wales and British Transport Police.

Police recorded crime statistics provide a measure of the number of crimes recorded by the police. They are an indicator for police workload and are a reliable measure of trends for some types of crimes.

Police recorded crime statistics for England and Wales are published as official statistics rather than National Statistics. In 2014 we removed their National Statistics designation due to concerns about the quality and consistency of police crime recording practices. Since then, police forces have made improvements to their crime recording processes and practices, but issues remain which continue to affect the quality of the statistics.

In recent years, we have reviewed and commented on specific elements of police recorded crime in England and Wales, including knife-enabled crime and hate crime. We have not reviewed the full police recorded crime series since we de-designated the statistics.

To understand the current quality and the scope of any future re-designation, we are carrying out an in-depth quality review of police recorded crime statistics.

What we are doing

Our quality review aims to:

  • Identify the nature and extent of quality issues in the data and statistics
  • Understand where responsibility for quality lies
  • Identify where improvements to quality have been made
  • Make recommendations about what needs to be done to improve quality

We are taking a process-based approach to investigating quality issues, focused on four areas where quality issues may arise:

  • The Counting Rules (the Home Office rules that set out the offences that forces must keep a record of for the purposes of statistical compilation) – how these rules are interpreted and applied by police forces.
  • Police operations/systems – how police forces deal with and respond to crime and the IT systems forces use to record crime.
  • Processing of data by police forces and the Home Office – how analysts in police forces and the Home Office quality assure data.
  • Processing of data by ONS – how ONS statisticians quality assure data.

We are gathering evidence through desk-based research and engagement with stakeholders, including police forces, His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS), and statisticians in Office for National Statistics (ONS), and the Home Office.

We will also take a comparative look at the police recorded crime statistics for Scotland and Northern Ireland, to understand how and why data quality differs across UK countries.

What we want to happen as a result of our work

We will discuss with stakeholders the implications of our findings and recommendations, in particular, what these may mean for their area of responsibility.

Following completion of the quality review we plan to review the value that police recorded crime statistics provide.

These reviews will shape our future regulatory work on police recorded crime statistics which, dependent on the findings of the reviews, may include a re-assessment of the police recorded crime statistics for England and Wales.


If you would like to talk to us about police recorded crime statistics, please get in touch with us at