UK Data Service series record for:
The Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) (formerly the British Crime Survey, provides an important source of information about levels of crime, public attitudes to crime and other related issues. The results play an important role in informing government policy. The CSEW measures the amount of crime in England and Wales by asking people about crimes they have experienced in the last year. This includes crimes not reported to the police, so it is an important alternative to police records.
You can find links to the datasets in the DATA ACCESS section above. When you follow the link to a dataset you will be taken to its catalogue record which contains the following information:
Most survey data may be downloaded as SPSS, Stata or tab-delimited files. There is a download button near the top right of each catalogue record. Most datasets can be downloaded after you login to your UK Data Service account. See our Access pages for more information about how to access data.
See our Use data pages for more advice about getting started with analyses. These pages contain advice and training; guides about datasets, topics and methods and software including SPSS and Stata; information about how others have used the data and how to cite datasets. See also our Events pages for courses and webinars about how to find, use and manage data.
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 about 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.
Yes, the CSEW is the new name for the BCS. From 1 April 2012, the collation and publication of Crime Statistics moved to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and the British Crime Survey changed its name to the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) to better reflect its coverage.
Adults aged 16 and over in private households in England and Wales, and since 2009, children aged 10-15 years resident in the same households.
Datasets are currently available for each survey from 1982 onwards. For an up-to-date list of available datasets, please see the DATA ACCESS section on this page.
When you download the CSEW (or BCS), you will find 2 files: one at the ‘individual’ level, and the other at the ‘incident of crime’ level (the “victim form”). The person-level data is derived from the questionnaire, and the victim form relates to incidents of crime reported in the survey. In some years, there are other files that relate to young people. These data-files are all part of the same study (in each year) and are downloaded in a zip-file from which you choose the dataset(s) you want.
The CSEW includes information at the household, individual and ‘victim’ level. For each year of the survey there are at least two files. One holds the victim form information and the other the remaining parts of the questionnaire, with the exception of the self-completions. In sweeps where there have been self-completions these are held separately and must be specifically requested for release. However, not all self-completions are currently deposited because of confidentiality and anonymity issues.
Variable lists and PDF user guides including questionnaires are freely available in the documentation section of the catalogue page for each survey. To find a survey catalogue page, follow the link from this page under DATA ACCESS or from the Discover results pages.
The same core questions are asked in each year, and there are other modules that come and go.
No, it is a repeated cross-sectional survey i.e. it takes a new sample of the population each time the survey is run.
Yes. The CSEW includes three types of weights to compensate for unequal selection probabilities, differential response rates and to ensure that quarters are equally weighted for analyses that combine data from more than one quarter. More information on how to weight the CSEW can be found in the documentation on the catalogue page for each year of the survey.
These are available from a good academic library or from the Home Office publications department: firstname.lastname@example.org. The most recent reports are available online from the Office for National Statistics web pages.
Using the Crime Survey for England and Wales for teaching
Yes, there are a number of BCS teaching datasets. Teaching datasets are designed to be used by social sciences students and teachers as simplified versions of a full survey dataset. They are normally smaller, with reduced numbers of variables, and are accompanied by a short user guide. The follow crime teaching datasets are available:
See our teaching pages for practical information, exemplars, and tips for using UK Data Service data in teaching, including: