Crime Survey for England and Wales - Major studies
Crime and law enforcement - Law, crime and legal systems
Social attitudes and behaviour - Society and culture
The Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW), previously known as the British Crime Survey (BCS), has been in existence since 1981. The survey traditionally asks a sole randomly selected adult, in a random sample of households, details pertaining to any instances where they, or the household, has been a victim of a crime in the previous 12 months. These are recorded in the victim form data file (VF). A wide range of questions are then asked covering demographics and crime-related subjects such as attitudes to the police and the criminal justice system (CJS). Most of the questionnaire is completed in a face-to-face interview in the respondent's home; these variables are contained within the non-victim form (NVF) data file. Since 2009, the survey has been extended to children aged 10-15 years old; one resident of that age range has also been selected at random from the household and asked about incidents where they have been a victim of crime, and other related topics. The first set of children's data, covering January-December 2009, had experimental status, and is held separately under SN 6601. From 2009-2010, the children's data cover the same period as the adult data and are included with the main dataset. Further information may be found on the ONS Crime Survey for England and Wales webpage and for the previous BCS, from the GOV.UK BCS Methodology webpage.
A series of questions on drinking behaviour, drug use and intimate personal violence (IPV) (including stalking and sexual victimisation) are administered to adults via a self-completion module which the respondent completes on a laptop computer. Children aged 10-15 years also complete a separate self-completion questionnaire. The questions are contained within the main questionnaire documents, but the data are not available with the main survey; they are available only under Special Licence/Secure Access conditions. See Access section for further details.
From 2009-2010, low-level geographic variables are available under Special Licence conditions to match to the survey/ From 2011-2012 onwards, further lower-level geographic variables are also available, subject to Secure Access conditions.
Up to 2001, the survey was conducted biennially. From April 2001, interviewing was carried out continually and reported on in financial year cycles and the crime reference period was altered to accommodate this change. The core sample size has increased from around 11,000 in the earlier cycles to over 40,000. Following the National Statistician's Review of Crime Statistics in June 2011 the collation and publication of Crime Statistics moved to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) from 1st April 2012, and the survey changed its name to the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) accordingly.
The 1982 and 1988 BCS waves were also conducted in Scotland. The England and Wales data for 1982 and 1988 are held at the UKDA under SNs 1869 and 2706, but the Scottish data for these studies are held separately under SNs 4368 and 4599. Since 1993, separate Scottish Crime and Justice Surveys have been conducted, and these are held under GN 33330.
|The central aim of the first British Crime Survey was to estimate the incidence of victimisation of selected types of crime among the adult population over a given period, to describe the circumstances under which people became victims of crime and assess the consequences for them of becoming victims. The design of the survey drew very heavily on experience from previous victim surveys - particularly the U.S. National Crime Survey and victim surveys in Canada and the Netherlands.The design of this survey had, however, some individual features arising from its particular objectives and the circumstances and constraints under which it was carried out. These features are described in more detail in the publication by Hough and Mayhew (1983), listed below under 'References/Reports by Principal Investigators'.
This first sweep of the British Crime Survey was also conducted in Scotland, as well as in England and Wales. Conditions of access differ for the Scottish data files from those which cover England and Wales. This study, SN:4368, includes only the Scottish data. The data for England and Wales are held under SN:1869. Users who need data for all three countries (Scotland, England and Wales) must place an order for both datasets.
For the second edition of this study (December 2002), the Scottish Executive deposited a new set of data files, including new variables UNIQID and SWEEP (unique identifier and sweep number). The UK Data Archive previously held only the data deposited by the Home Office.
Respondents were asked a series of screening questions to establish whether or not they had been the victims of crime during the reference period, and a series of very detailed questions about the incidents they reported. Basic descriptive background information on the respondents and their households was also collected to allow analysis of the sorts of people who do and do not become victims. Other information collected was on fear of crime, contact with the police, lifestyle, and self-reported offending.
By principal investigator(s):
Links to more recent publications may be found on the ONS Crime Survey for England and Wales webpages and the Home Office BCS Methodology webpages.
Previous technical reports and papers, 1982-2001:
Wood, D. (1982) British crime survey: technical report, London: SCPR.
National Opinion Polls (1985) 1984 British Crime Survey: technical report, London: NOP.
Social and Community Planning Research (1988) 1988 British Crime Survey (England and Wales): technical report, London: SCPR.
Allen, D. and Payne, D. (1991) Crime prevention in Scotland - findings from the 1988 British Crime Survey, Scottish Office.
Allen, D. and Payne, D. (1991) The public and the police in Scotland - findings from the 1988 British Crime Survey, Scottish Office.
Payne, D. (1992) Crime in Scotland - findings from the 1988 British Crime Survey, Scottish Office.
Kinsey, R. and Anderson, S. (1992) Crime and quality of life - public perceptions and experiences of crime in Scotland: findings from the 1988 British Crime Survey, Scottish Office.
Hales, J. (1993) 1992 British Crime Survey (England and Wales): technical report, London: SCPR.
White, A. and Malbon, G. (June 1995) 1994 British Crime Survey: technical report, London: OPCS Social Survey Division.
Hales, J. and Stratford, N. (1996?) 1996 British Crime Survey (England and Wales): technical report, London: SCPR.
Hales, J. and Stratford, N. (1999) 1998 British Crime Survey (England and Wales): technical report, London: SCPR.
Hales, J., et al. (2001) 2000 British Crime Survey (England and Wales): technical report, London: National Centre for Social Research.
Budd, T. (2001) Burglary: practice messages from the British Crime Survey, Briefing Note 5/01, London: Home Office.
Kinshott, G. (2001) Vehicle related thefts: practice messages from the British Crime Survey, Briefing Note 6/01, London: Home Office.
Mattinson, J. (2001) Stranger and acquaintance violence: practice messages from the British Crime Survey, Briefing Note 7/01, London: Home Office.
Budd, T. and Sims, L. (2001) Antisocial behaviour and disorder: findings from the 2000 British Crime Survey, Findings 145, London: Home Office.
Resulting from secondary analysis:
Pease, K. (1988) Judgements of crime seriousness : findings from the 1984 British Crime Survey, Research and Planning Unit Paper 44, London: Home Office.
Shah, R. and Pease, K. (1992) 'Crime, race and reporting to the police' Howard Journal of Crime and Justice, 31, pp.192-199.
Webb, P.M. (1994) Housing tenure as a determinant of the decision to report vandalism to the police: secondary analysis of the 1988 British Crime Survey, England and Wales, Dissertation for MSc Social Research, University of Surrey, September.
Bucke, T. (1997) Ethnicity and contacts with the police: latest findings from the British Crime Survey, Research Findings No.59, Research and Statistics Directorate, London: Home Office.
Ramsay, M. and Spiller, J. (1997) Drug misuse declared in 1996: latest findings from the British Crime Survey, Home Office Research Study 172, London: Home Office. ISBN 1-85893-917-8.
Hough, M. and Roberts, J. (1998) Attitudes to punishment: findings from the British Crime Survey, Home Office Research Study 179, London: Home Office. ISBN 1-84082-017-9.
Macdonald, Z. (1999) 'Illicit drug use in the UK', British Journal of Criminology, 39(4), pp.585-608.
Macdonald, Z. (2000) 'Illicit drug use, unemployment and occupational attainment', Journal of Health Economics, 19, pp.1089-1115.
Macdonald, Z. (2000) 'The impact of under-reporting on the relationship between unemployment and property crime', Applied Economic Letters, 7, pp.659-663.
Macdonald, Z. and Pudney, S. (2000) 'Analysing drug abuse with British Crime Survey data: modelling and questionnaire design issues', Applied Statistics, 49(1), pp.95-117.
Data from the British Crime Survey, 2000: Teaching Dataset (SN 4740) has been used for the following textbook:
Tarling, R. (2008) Statistical modelling for social researchers: principles and practice, Oxford: Routledge. ISBN: 978-0-415-44840-6. The book's companion web site includes downloadable datasets and further information: retrieved 26 March, 2013, from http://www.routledge.com/textbooks/9780415448406/links.asp.