British Crime Survey, 2002-2003


Abstract copyright UK Data Service and data collection copyright owner.The Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) asks a sole adult, in a random sample of households, about their, or their household's, experience of crime victimisation 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) these variables are contained within the non-victim form (NVF) data file. In 2009, the survey was extended to children aged 10-15 years old; one resident of that age range is also selected from the household and asked about their experience of crime, and other related topics. The first set of children's data covered January-December 2009 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 study.The CSEW was formerly known as the British Crime Survey (BCS), and has been in existence since 1981. The 1982 and 1988 BCS waves were also conducted in Scotland (data held separately under SNs 4368 and 4599). Since 1993, separate Scottish Crime and Justice Surveys have been conducted. Up to 2001, the BCS was conducted biennially. From April 2001, the Office for National Statistics took over the survey and it became the CSEW. Interviewing was then carried out continually and reported on in financial year cycles. The crime reference period was altered to accommodate this. Further information may be found on the ONS Crime Survey for England and Wales web page and for the previous BCS, from the GOV.UK BCS Methodology web page. Secure Access dataIn addition to the main survey, a series of questions covering drinking behaviour, drug use, self-offending, gangs and personal security, and intimate personal violence (IPV) (including stalking and sexual victimisation) are asked of adults via a laptop-based self-completion module (questions may vary over the years). Children aged 10-15 years also complete a separate self-completion questionnaire. The questionnaires are included in the main documentation, but the data are only available under Secure Access conditions (see SN 7280), not with the main study. In addition, from 2011 onwards, lower-level geographic variables are also available under Secure Access conditions (see SN 7311).New methodology for capping the number of incidents from 2017-18The CSEW datasets available from 2017-18 onwards are based on a new methodology of capping the number of incidents at the 98th percentile. Incidence variables names have remained consistent with previously supplied data but due to the fact they are based on the new 98th percentile cap, and old datasets are not, comparability has been lost with years prior to 2012-2013. More information can be found in the 2017-18 User Guide (see SN 8464) and the article ‘Improving victimisation estimates derived from the Crime Survey for England and Wales’. 

The self-completion modules on drinking behaviour, drugs and stolen goods are subject to restrictive controlled data access conditions - see SN 7280.CSEW Historic back series – dataset update (March 2022)From January 2019, all releases of crime statistics using CSEW data adopted a new methodology for measuring repeat victimisation (moving from a cap of 5 in the number of repeat incidents to tracking the 98th percentile value for major crime types).  To maintain a consistent approach across historic data, all datasets back to 2001 have been revised to the new methodology. The change affects all incident data and related fields.  A “bolt-on” version of the data has been created for the 2001/02 to 2011/12 datasets. This “bolt-on” dataset contains only variables previously supplied impacted by the change in methodology. These datasets can be merged onto the existing BCS NVF and VF datasets. A template ‘merge’ SPSS syntax file is provided, which will need to be adapted for other software formats.For the seventh edition (March 2022), “bolt-on” datasets for the NVF and VF files, example merge syntax and additional documentation have been added to the study to accommodate the latest CSEW repeat victimisation measurement methodology. See the documentation for further details.

Main Topics:

The non-victim form questionnaire gathers respondent-level data: topics covered include fear of crime, perception of antisocial behaviour, victimisation screener questions, the performance of the criminal justice system (CJS), experiences of the police, attitudes to the CJS, crime prevention and security, victims and the CJS, and demographic information. A separate non-victim form data file for non-white respondents is also included in the dataset and covers self-classified non-white respondents from the main sample plus those from a boost sample achieved through focused enumeration. Questionnaire coverage is the same as the main non-victim form. The victim form covers offence-level data: up to six different incidents are asked about for each respondent. Each incident constitutes a separate victim form and can be matched back to the respondent-level data through the variable ROWLABEL. Topics covered include the nature and circumstances of the incident, details of offenders, security measures, costs, emotional reactions, contact with the CJS and outcomes where known. Similar to the non-victim form described above, a separate victim form data file is included covering offence-level data for self-classified non-white respondents from the main sample plus those from the boost sample.

Multi-stage stratified random sample

Face-to-face interview


Metadata Access
Creator BMRB, Social Research; Home Office, Research, Development and Statistics Directorate
Publisher UK Data Service
Publication Year 2005
Rights <a href="" target="_blank">© Crown copyright</a>. The use of these data is subject to the <a href="" target="_blank">UK Data Service End User Licence Agreement</a>. Additional restrictions may also apply.; <p>The Data Collection is available to UK Data Service registered users subject to the <a href="" target="_blank">End User Licence Agreement</a>.</p><p>Commercial use of the data requires approval from the data owner or their nominee. The UK Data Service will contact you.</p>
OpenAccess true
Language English
Resource Type Numeric
Discipline Economics; History; Humanities; Jurisprudence; Law; Social and Behavioural Sciences
Spatial Coverage England and Wales