ONS Centre for Crime and Justice Winter 2020 Newsletter

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Winter 2020

ONS Centre for Crime and Justice Newsletter

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Welcome to the Winter edition of the ONS Centre for Crime and Justice newsletter, which includes news on recent and upcoming releases and events, and updates on the work we have been doing in the last 6 months.

Look out for the next edition in Summer 2021.

COVID-19 and the production of statistics

ONS is working to ensure that the UK has the vital information needed to respond to the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on our economy and society.

The Crime and Justice team set up the Telephone-operated Crime Survey for England and Wales (TCSEW) in May 2020 to measure crime while the face-to-face crime survey is suspended. We will continue to explore how best to measure crime during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and beyond, including the possibility of extending the use of the TCSEW, returning to face-to-face interviewing and transformation of the crime survey.

Read the ONS statement in full here

Being inclusive in our data collection: respondents aged 75 and over

We are aware that some concerns have been raised around the exclusion of certain age groups from the self-completion modules of the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW). Working closely with stakeholders we are looking to address these concerns to ensure that the survey covers the whole of society.

In response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic we had to move the CSEW from a face-to-face to a telephone only survey. As a result, we are currently not asking questions around any sensitive topics, including domestic abuse and sexual assault, because of ethical and safeguarding concerns with this mode of delivery.

Once it is possible to return to the face-to-face mode of delivery, we will immediately remove the current upper age limit for respondents to the self-completion modules. It will then take 12 months of data collection to enable us to produce accurate estimates.

We are also taking the opportunity to review the way we deliver the CSEW; to ensure it is both inclusive and sustainable for the future. As part of our wider research programme to help deliver these ambitions we are undertaking research on the current domestic abuse, sexual assault and stalking self-completion module, including work to ascertain the best mode for asking sensitive questions to all victims. The first phase of this research will provide findings in Spring 2021 and these insights will help us further develop the CSEW for the longer term.

In summary we want to ensure that the CSEW is able to provide information and insights on the whole of society while making sure sensitive questions are asked in a way that meets ethical and safeguarding standards. This forms part of our work on inequalities in victimisation outlined in our Improving crime statistics for England and Wales progress update July 2020.


What's new in ONS Crime and Justice statistics?

Coronavirus and crime in England and Wales: August 2020

In August we produced a publication exploring crime in England and Wales during April and May 2020, the period when the strictest national lockdown restrictions because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic were in place.

Data was presented from a new Telephone-operated Crime Survey for England and Wales (TCSEW) designed to capture trends in crime whilst normal face-to-face interviewing continued to be suspended.

Initial findings from the Telephone-operated Crime Survey for England and Wales (TCSEW) estimated a significant 32% reduction in total crime excluding fraud and computer misuse during April and May 2020 compared with a two-month average in the pre-lockdown period.

Underlying this reduction were significant falls in theft offences, particularly domestic burglary and other theft of personal property; this reflects the increase in time people spent at home during the lockdown period, a reduction in opportunities for theft in public spaces and the closure of the night-time economy.

Crime in England and Wales: year ending June 2020

Findings from the Telephone-operated Crime Survey for England and Wales (TCSEW) estimated that there were approximately 11.5 million offences in the last 12 months in England and Wales; although not directly comparable, this was similar to levels estimated from the face-to-face Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) in recent years.

Total police recorded crime decreased by 4% in England and Wales to approximately 5.8 million offences in the 12 months ending June 2020; police reported crime levels were relatively stable from July 2019 to March 2020 and the annual decrease was mainly driven by substantial falls during the April to June 2020 period, particularly in theft offences.

Domestic abuse in England and Wales overview: November 2020

Data on domestic abuse from the Crime Survey for England and Wales, police recorded crime and a range of different organisations presented in separate articles.

The main points recorded from the Crime Survey for England and Wales showed a slight decrease in adults aged 16 to 74 years that had experienced domestic abuse in the 12-month period to year ending March 2020.

The police recorded 758,941 domestic abuse-related crimes in England and Wales (excluding Greater Manchester Police), an increase of 9% from the previous year; this continues an ongoing trend that may reflect improved recording by the police alongside increased reporting by victims.

Between April and June 2020 there was also an increase in demand for domestic abuse support with a 65% increase in calls and contacts logged by the National Domestic Abuse Helpline compared with the previous three-month period. Following the easing of lockdown measures in mid-May Victim Support recorded handling a 12% increase in the number of domestic abuse cases in the week lockdown restrictions were eased, compared to the previous week; this reflects the difficulties victims faced in safely seeking support during the lockdown.

Drug Misuse in England and Wales: year ending March 2020

This is a new publication for the ONS Centre for Crime and Justice previously published by the Home Office which reports on trends in drug use across England and Wales for the year ending March 2020.

The main points show that there has been no change in overall drug use and Class A drug use in the last year with around 1 in 11 adults aged 16 to 59 years having taken a drug during the 12 month period year ending March 2020. Drug use was far more common among younger adults with the proportion of 16- to 24-year-olds taking drugs remaining similar to the previous year.

Online bullying in England and Wales: year ending March 2020

This publication presents the first estimates from new questions added to the 10- to 15-year-olds' crime survey in 2019 to capture the extent and nature of children's online experience of bullying. In the year ending March 2020, an estimated one out of five children aged 10 to 15 years in England and Wales experienced at least one type of online bullying behaviour (19%). This equates to approximately 764,000 children.

Childhood vulnerability to victimisation in England and Wales: year ending March 2017 to year ending March 2019

New research using the Crime Survey for England and Wales suggests that the prevalence of the “toxic trio”; parental mental ill-health, domestic abuse and substance misuse, commonly present in the lives of many vulnerable children, could make children more likely to engage in negative behaviours.

Property crime tables

Annual data from the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) and metal theft offences recorded by the police, including demographic and offence type breakdowns and time series data.

Nature of crime tables: year ending March 2020

In September we published our ‘Nature of Crime tables: year ending March 2020’. Alongside the tables we published the R and Python code which created them on our public GitHub repository. Users will now be able to download the code and review what we have developed against the outputs. We have also published a piece of code which allows for the conversion of the SPSS ‘.sps’ datasets to a ‘.csv’ format compatible with both R and Python for our users.

This is the first time we have completed table production in R and Python, and so we are welcoming all feedback on the code we have produced so far. We hope these examples can be used to support and encourage others to transform their table production processes.


Crime statistics are available at a number of different geographies. Below are links to Police Force Area (PFA) and Community Safety Partnership (CSP) level crime data.

  • Police Force Area data tables  - Data from police recorded crime. Shows the number of police recorded crimes, percentage change from previous year and rate per 1,000 population by offence group and knife and sharp instrument offences by Police Force Area.
  • Recorded crime data by Community Safety Partnership area - Recorded crime figures for Community Safety Partnership areas, which equate in the majority of instances to local authorities. Contains the number of offences for the last two years, percentage change between these two time periods and rates per 1,000 population for the latest year.

Devolved countries

For crime and justice statistics relating to other UK countries, please see the links below:

Upcoming publications

  • Exploring the feasibility of a survey measuring child abuse in the UK – 21 January 2021 confirmed
  • Crime in England and Wales: year ending September 2020 – 3 February 2021 confirmed
  • Children’s online behaviour in England and Wales: year ending March 2020 – 9 February 2021 (provisional)
  • The nature of violent crime in England and Wales: year ending March 2020 – 25 February 2021 (provisional)
  • Homicide in England and Wales: year ending March 2020 – 25 February 2021 (provisional)
  • Offences involving the use of weapons: dataset only – 25 February 2021 (provisional)
  • Sexual offences in England and Wales overview: year ending March 2020 – 18 March 2021 (provisional)
  • Crime in England and Wales: year ending December 2020 – April 2021 (provisional)

See the ONS release calendar

Other related Crime and Justice Statistics

Home Office (HO) produce statistics on crime outcomes, arrests made by the police and other powers, number of police officers and other aspects of police personnel; HO also publish police recorded crime by Community Safety Partnership area within their police recorded crime open data tables.

Ministry of Justice produce statistics for England and Wales on the courts, prison population, perpetrators and reoffending.

If you have any questions around these publications, both government departments can be contacted at the following email addresses:

Home Office: CrimeandPoliceStats@homeoffice.gov.uk

Ministry of Justice: ESD@justice.gov.uk

Accessing our data

The Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) microdata are made available through the UK Data Service and the Secure Research Service (SRS):

  • UK Data Service – End User Licence versions of the datasets are available through the UK Data service going back to 1983.
  • Secure Research Service – Approved researchers can access the CSEW microdata through the SRS, giving them access to more sensitive data, for example, the self completion module. Data are available back to 2012/13 with further years being made available towards the end of this year.

Useful links

You may also find the links below useful:

  • Centre for Crime and Justice - the Centre for Crime and Justice aims to improve understanding of the extent and nature of crime in our society by developing our statistics of the latest trends using all available sources
  • National Statistical - news and insight from the ONS
  • ONS Twitter account @ONSFocus is the official platform for news and discussion about what’s happening at the ONS. It is designed for everyone with an in interest in the numbers that matter most and how they are produced. While the main @ONS account will continue to be the place to find out statistics, @ONSFocus will be the place for talk about the ONS itself.




We’re always interested in improving our understanding of how our data is used by different customers; if you’d like to get in touch with any wider feedback for us, on either our publications or this newsletter, please email us at crimestatistics@ons.gov.uk, or call us on +44 (0)20 7592 8695



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Contact us

Should you have any questions about the content of this newsletter, please email us at crimestatistics@ons.gov.uk , or call us on +44 (0)20 7592 8695.