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Home Office Figures Self –Report Studies British Crime Survey

What is it? What is it? What is it?

Home Office figures are based on police These studies use questionnaires or interviews Instead of relying on police records these
records to collect information about individuals and studies the Home office conducts
asks them to admit to the number of crimes ‘victimization studies’ these ask people if they
Methodology primary data is collected from they have committed. The data is then have been the victim of crime
the courts, police cautioning records, and compared to official conviction rates
arrest records
Different research units do their own self- Methodology: annual study; stratified random
Why do it? report studies – the Home Office does one sample of people in private households;
40,000 + respondents; stratified random
• Seen as producing an official picture of Methodology: self-completion questionnaires sample; self-completion questionnaires &
the true nature of crime in the UK. & face-to-face interviews; stratified random face-to-face interviews
sample of 1700 respondents + booster sample
• It allows year-on-year comparisons to of ethnic minorities; Why do it?
be made from 1876 onwards
Why do it? This survey shows how unreliable official
• It only records crime dealt with by the statistics are
police, such as hidden crimes – tax To find out which sections of society are likely
evasion, fraud to have committed crimes and how much What they find out:
crime there really is as only 3% of crime in
• What they find out during 2001-2
England and Wales ends with a conviction • Only 42% of crimes are reported to
What they find out:
• Drug offences 2% of recorded crime
• Whether or not a crime is reported is
• Crime is normal as it would seem most dependent on what type of crime it is.
• Violent crime 15% of use commit a crime at one time or 94% of robberies are reported, but just
another 33% of vandalism
• Burglary 16%
• Yet frequent law breaking is rare • Reasons for non-reporting – reprisals,
• Homicides 886 recorded seen as too trivial; fear of police
• More males commit than females
Rapes (female) 9,008 – Male 735 commit crimes 40% of incidents reported to police were not
recorded as crimes in the categories of crime
Problems • More young people tend to commit used in the BCS
Only offences recorded by police are recorded, Problems
hidden crime ignored • Most self-report studies show a link
between social class and criminal • Hazel Croall says the BCS is not
Something must be defined as a crime before behaviour, with the underclass reliable as:
it’s recorded – elder abuse ignored committing more street crimes of
robbery, theft etc. Yet this could be due • It can only record crimes which
Not all offences reported to police are to most self-report studies focussing on victims are aware of and therefore it
recorded these types of crimes at the expense of excludes many crimes
fraud, domestic violence, child abuse
Different police forces deal with some etc • Results reflect ‘respondents definitions
incidents in different ways for example of crime which might not be the same
Nottingham police record all crimes involving Problems as legal classifications
£10 or less, Echo reported how Poole police
were ignoring crimes of £70 or less • Traditionally they researched male • They are limited by students’ memory
juvenile delinquency
Police priorities change, sudden purges on
• Survey restricted to households (no
immigration & paedophillia raise these figures
• Tended to focus on street crime hostels), doesn’t record crimes against
while other crimes put in second place
businesses or those by or in institutions
• Ignore hidden crimes child abuse,
domestic violence etc • The Survey only interviews people
post 16, therefore omits crimes against
• Ignores middle-class crime like fraud younger people