HC Deb 05 November 2003 vol 412 cc709-10W
David Davis

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the effect of the adoption of the National Crime Recording Standard on the capacity to compare crime statistics with previous years' performance. [135279]

Ms Blears

It is difficult to make valid comparisons of recorded crime statistics over time owing to changes in police recording, the latest being the introduction of the National Crime Recording Standard (NCRS) in April 2002. However, the adoption of the NCRS by all forces will establish a fairer and more consistent basis upon which future crime statistics can be interpreted, both nationally and between police forces.

In order to provide a more realistic picture of crime levels, the Home Office has conducted a full evaluation of the estimated impact of the NCRS at a national and force level for 2002–03. More detailed information about the methodology can be found at http://www.homeoffice.gov. Uk/rds/pdfs2/rdsolr3103.pdf. The study concluded that overall the crimes counted in 2002–03 were approximately 10 per cent. higher than they would have been under pre-NCRS recording practices.

Additionally, it is important to note that findings from the British Crime Survey, which is the most authoritative source on crime trends (and which has not been affected by changes to police recording practices) enable trends in crime over the last 20 years to be identified on a reliable basis.

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