About the Crime Survey for England and Wales

What is the survey about?

The Crime Survey for England and Wales is a hugely important means for the Government to understand the true level of crime. The crucial value of the survey is its ability to find out about crimes which do not get reported to, or recorded by, the police. The survey has previously shown that only 4 in 10 crimes are actually reported to the police, so conducting the survey is incredibly valuable in understanding all of the other crimes which go unreported. Without the Crime Survey, the government would have no information on these unreported crimes. Typically the Crime Survey records a higher number of crimes than police figures because it includes these unreported crimes.

The Crime Survey also covers new and emerging crimes, fraud and online crime.

As well as measuring crime, the Crime Survey for England and Wales looks at:

  • Identifying those most at risk of crime, which is used in designing crime prevention programmes.
  • People’s attitudes to crime and the Criminal Justice System, including the police and the courts.
  • People’s experiences of anti-social behaviour and how this has affected their quality of life.

The survey also provides other valuable information about the nature of crimes, such as the location and timing of crimes, the characteristics of offenders and the relationship between victims and offenders. By understanding the nature of crime better, policy makers are able to make sure crime reduction policies are focused where they can make most impact.

From 2009 the survey has included a separate survey to record the experiences of young people aged 10-15. This interview is shorter than the adult interview. Young people are selected to take part from the same households selected for the adult survey. Permission from a parent or guardian is always obtained before an interview is conducted with anyone aged 10-15.

Our privacy policy
What type of questions will I be asked?

The key purpose of the Crime Survey is to ask about your experiences of crime in the last 12 months and collect details about any incidents you have experienced. So we will ask questions to allow us to correctly classify the type of crime experienced, as well as to collect information such as whether you were injured, or if you had anything stolen or property damaged. We will also ask for details such as the time and location of the incident and any information you had about the perpetrator(s).

We will also ask you some questions about yourself, for example your age, education or employment status. This information is used to produce statistics on crime for different groups of people

The survey also covers other crime-related topics which involve asking questions about:

  • Your attitudes to crime and the Criminal Justice System, including the police and the courts.
  • Your experiences of anti-social behaviour and how this has affected your quality of life.

In addition, the survey may also asks questions about sensitive topics including:

  • Use of drugs and alcohol
  • Domestic violence, sexual victimisation, stalking
  • Experiences of mental, physical or sexual abuse during childhood.

All questions relating to these topics are asked in a ‘self-completion’ section where you will be invited to enter your responses directly into a computer to ensure the confidentiality of your answers. The interviewer will not be able to see any of your answers to these questions.