ONS Centre for Crime and Justice Newsletter - Summer 2021

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ONS Centre for Crime and Justice Statistics Newsletter - Summer 2021

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Welcome to the Summer 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 Winter 2021.

Measuring crime in the last year has been particularly challenging because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and government instructions to limit social contact. We have adapted both our data collection and the presentation of our statistics in response to the unfolding pandemic. In the last year we have:

  • designed and set up the Telephone-operated Crime Survey for England and Wales (TCSEW) while face-to-face interviewing has been paused
  • published a report on the comparability of TCSEW data with face-to-face Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) data
  • set up a pilot study to explore the feasibility of using an address-based online survey for participant recruitment and online surveying
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Over the coming year we will continue to face uncertainty around our ability to collect the data we need to measure crime as the coronavirus pandemic continues to unfold. We are engaging with our survey contractor and other survey organisations to help inform our decision and currently plan to return to face-to-face interviewing in October 2021.

To support our work transforming the CSEW, we are launching a series of commercial tenders over the coming weeks. If you are interested please follow this link to Crown Commercial Service’s Supplier Registration portal where you can register as a Supplier and receive further details.

What's new in ONS Crime and Justice statistics? 

Crime in England and Wales: year ending March 2021

Patterns of crime in the year ending March 2021 have been significantly affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and government instructions to limit social contact. While there were decreases across a range of individual crime types, particularly theft offences, these were offset by rises in fraud and computer misuse offences, resulting in no change in overall levels of crime.

Comparability between the Telephone-operated Crime Survey for England and Wales and the face-to-face Crime Survey for England and Wales

The Telephone-operated Crime Survey for England and Wales (TCSEW) became operational on the 20 May 2020. It was a replacement for the face-to-face Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) which was suspended on the 17 March 2020 because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. It was set up with the intention of measuring the level of crime during the pandemic. As the pandemic has continued throughout the 2020/21 survey year, questions have been raised as to whether the year ending March 2021 TCSEW is comparable with estimates produced in earlier years by the face-to-face CSEW.

The report explores those factors which may have a bearing on the comparability of estimates between the TCSEW and the former CSEW. These include survey design, sample design, questionnaire changes and modal changes.

It concludes that the main measures of crime (numbers of incidents and prevalence rates in the previous 12 months) are broadly comparable, but some adjustments are needed. For more information see the report.

Perceptions of personal safety and experiences of harassment, Great Britain: 2 to 27 June 2021 – 24 August 2021

Perceptions of safety and experiences of harassment, by personal characteristics, based on the Opinions and Lifestyle Survey (OPN)

This is the first time that ONS has asked people about their feelings of personal safety when walking alone in a variety of public settings. Clear findings have revealed that men and women both feel less safe after dark with 81% of women feeling very or fairly unsafe after dark in a park or other open space compared with 39% of men, Disabled people reported feeling less safe than non-disabled adults across all settings even in the daytime.

Exploring the feasibility of a survey measuring child abuse in the UK: consultation response 23 July 2021

The ONS is assessing the feasibility of a survey measuring the current prevalence of child abuse in the UK. We published an article in January 2021 outlining our findings from phase one to date.

The aims of the feasibility study have been split into two phases:

Phase one: to carry out research and launch a public consultation gathering feedback and opinions from anyone with an interest in child protection and child protection policy, and to determine whether a survey could be successful.

Phase two: to design and test survey methodology and questions and conduct a pilot survey.

We invited feedback from stakeholders to understand their needs and perspectives. We received 91 consultation responses with strong support overall to carry this work forward.

More information on the results of the consultation can be found in the report above.

Sexual offences in England and Wales overview: year ending March 2020

Findings from the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) estimated that 1.8% of adults aged 16 to 74 years experienced sexual assault in the year ending March 2020. The number of sexual offences recorded by police over the same period, decreased by 0.7% compared to the previous year.

This release brings together data on sexual offences across separate articles from the Crime Survey for England and Wales and police recorded crime from the Home Office.

Detailed tables – violent crime

Homicide in England and Wales: appendix tables

Findings from the analyses based on the Homicide Index recorded by the Home Office.

The nature of violent crime: appendix tables

Violent crime numbers, prevalence and location using annual data from the Crime Survey for England and Wales, Home Office Data Hub, and police recorded crime.

Offences involving the use of weapons: data tables

Data tables relating to offences involving weapons as recorded by police and hospital episode statistics.


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Children’s online behaviour in England and Wales: year ending March 2020

The data in this bulletin is from the 10- to 15-year olds’ Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) year ending March 2020 and was collected prior to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Although being online brings huge benefits to children, there are also significant risks.

An estimated 1 in 50 children (2%) said that they spoke to or messaged someone online in the previous 12 months who they thought was their age but later found out were much older.

This report looks at children’s engagement in online activities and includes: the frequency and nature of online use; prevalence of speaking to or meeting someone online; method of contact; sending and receiving sexual messages; and online security.

Children’s survey stakeholder events

As part of our work to transform the crime survey, we are reviewing the content and approach of the 10-15s children’s survey. We are planning to hold stakeholder events in October where we will outline the aims of the review, recap the existing survey content, and launch a questionnaire to gather your views and requirements. If you’d like to be involved, please email us at crimestatistics@ons.gov.uk to be added to the mailing list.


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View all official statistics relating to knife or sharp instrument offences in England and Wales in our experimental interactive database published on the Government Statistical Service (GSS) website. The GSS Interactive Tools bring together all official government statistics from many thematic areas. They enable users to explore and better understand the complex landscape of official statistics.

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Crime statistics are available at several 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 usually 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.


Further information on progress being made to improve crime statistics for England and Wales. can be found in our annual update document Improving Crime Statistics for England and Wales.


Upcoming publications

  • Crime Severity Score data tool - 19 October 2021
  • Crime in England and Wales: year ending June 2021 – 4 November 2021
  • Domestic abuse in England and Wales overview: November 2021

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

Devolved countries

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

Accessing our data

The Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) microdata is 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.
  • Follow the Crime statistician's ONS Twitter account


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