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What can we, the public, learn about crime by critically considering the official statistics in the British Crime Survey and Police Recorded Crime?

To begin with I will explain what both lots of information provides us with.   Firstly the British Crime Survey is a study which is undertaken on behalf of the Home Office.   The survey is given out to people aged 16 and over and whom live in England and Wales.   About 50,000 people are asked about crimes they have experienced over the previous year.

The British Crime survey is conducted to mop up some of those crimes which have been experienced by people but which may have not been reported to the police.   The public sometimes do not report crimes as they feel that the police may not do anything about what has happened, or would be unable to do something about it.   It also gathers information on peoples feelings towards crimes.

The Police Recorded Crime is exactly that; those crimes which have been experienced and then reported to and recorded by the police.   However, this works out to be only about 50% of actually experienced crimes.   There is a shortfall in the amount of crimes reported to the police which are then recorded as such.   The reason for this is that sometimes certain incidents are reported to the police but are not viewed by them to be serious enough to be followed up as a criminal offence (for example neighbour dispute) this is then not recorded as a crime.

The two sources are used together so as to try and give a more true and in depth look into the crimes that have been experienced by the public as a whole.   This will still not be an exact log as only 50,000 people are surveyed and only about 80% reply, so not everyone who has not reported a crime to the police will be picked up in the British Crime Survey.   However it can confirm that increases and decreases in certain crimes are definitely taking place.

With regards to the information contained in the two sets of information we also...