British Crime Survey, 2009-2010


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 was 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 Telephone-operated Crime Survey for England and Wales (TCSEW) became operational on 20 May 2020. It was a replacement for the face-to-face CSEW, which was suspended on 17 March 2020 because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. It was set up with the intention of measuring the level of crime during the pandemic. As the pandemic continued throughout the 2020/21 survey year, questions have been raised as to whether the year ending March 2021 TCSEW is comparable with estimates produced in earlier years by the face-to-face CSEW. The ONS Comparability between the Telephone-operated Crime Survey for England and Wales and the face-to-face Crime Survey for England and Wales report explores those factors that may have a bearing on the comparability of estimates between the TCSEW and the former CSEW. These include survey design, sample design, questionnaire changes and modal changes.More general information about the CSEW 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.History - the British Crime SurveyThe 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.  Secure Access CSEW 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’. 

Variable 'PFA' (Police Force Area): From 2008-2009 onwards, the BCS variable 'PFA' (Police Force Area) is now only available within the associated dataset SN 6935, British Crime Survey, 2009-2010: Special Licence Access, Low-Level Geographic Data, which is subject to restrictive access conditions; see 'Access' section below. 2009-2010 self-completion modules: From October 2016, the self-completion questionnaire modules covering drug use, drinking behaviour, and domestic violence, sexual victimisation and stalking are subject to 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 third 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:

Adult data The adult data includes information from two sections of the survey, the non-victim form (NVF) and the victim form (VF). The NVF gathers respondent-level data: topics covered include perceptions of crime; victimisation screener questions; performance of the CJS; mobile phone, second home and bicycle crime; experiences of the police; attitudes to the CJS; crime prevention and security; ad hoc crime topics, including concern about crime and social cohesion; plastic card fraud; identity fraud; antisocial behaviour; road safety and traffic; and demographics and media. The VF contains offence-level data. Up to six different incidents are asked about for each respondent. Each of these 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. Children's data (aged 10-15 years) The child NVF questionnaire included: schooling and perceptions of crime; crime screener questions (personal incidents only); perceptions of and attitudes towards the police; anti-social behaviour; and crime prevention and security. The child self-completion questionnaire covered: use of the internet; personal safety; school truancy; bullying; street gangs; drinking behaviour; cannabis use; and verification questions. The child VF covered the nature and circumstances of the incident, series of incidents, details of offenders, weapons, injuries and medical treatment, contact with the police.

Multi-stage stratified random sample

Face-to-face interview


Related Identifier
Metadata Access
Creator Home Office, Research, Development and Statistics Directorate; BMRB, Social Research
Publisher UK Data Service
Publication Year 2010
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