British Crime Survey, 1998


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’. 

Similar to the other surveys in the series, the 1998 BCS aimed to gather information on respondents' experience of crime over the previous 13-14 months. Unlike previous sweeps, there was no booster sample of black and Asian respondents in the 1998 survey. For the fourth edition of the study (January 2007), the drugs self-completion data file was replaced with a new version that includes further derived variables. From October 2016, the drug use and stalking modules are subject to Controlled data access conditions - see SN 7280.

Main Topics:

Topics covered included people's perceptions of their neighbourhood and fear of crime; victimisation experiences. Two different versions of the follow-up questionnaire were used: Version A questioned respondents on whether they knew or had any contact with police officers, whether they had been stopped by the police either in a vehicle or on foot, attitudes to the police, low level harassment, security of home, sheds, garages and bicycles, and road rage. Version B questioned respondents on knowledge of sentencing practices, attitudes to the work of various parts of the criminal justice system, attitudes to the sentencing of young offenders, and knowledge of 'Victim Support' schemes.

Multi-stage stratified random sample

Face-to-face interview


Related Identifier
Metadata Access
Creator Social and Community Planning Research; Home Office, Research and Statistics Directorate
Publisher UK Data Service
Publication Year 2000
Funding Reference Home Office
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
Resource Type Numeric
Discipline Economics; History; Humanities; Jurisprudence; Law; Social and Behavioural Sciences
Spatial Coverage England and Wales