Review of Incident and Crime Recording

13 December 2013

It is essential that the public are confident that crimes are recorded accurately and ethically by the police, and that Police Scotland uses reliable crime data to effectively deploy its resources to maximise community safety.  HMICS has conducted a national review of incident and crime recording, the first such review since the creation of Police Scotland.





Police Scotland should clearly define the term ‘as soon as reasonably practicable’ by introducing timescales for the recording of crime following an initial report. This would facilitate compliance with the Scottish Crime Recording Standard and ensure victims’ needs are better met.


Police Scotland should ensure that it makes full use of the non-cooperative aggravator/marker in the recording of assaults.


Police Scotland should review the new crime registrar structure and governance arrangements for crime recording one year after their implementation. The review should include consideration of whether sufficient resources are available for auditing incident and crime records, and whether the dual roles held by some crime managers raise a possible conflict of interest with ethical crime recording in contravention of the Scottish Crime Recording Standard.


Messages about ethical crime recording and performance with integrity from senior members of the service should be frequent, consistent, clear and understood by all members of Police Scotland.


Police Scotland should ensure the continuation of the Scottish Crime Registrars’ Group and the role it performed. Police Scotland should consider the membership and remit of the group taking into account the new structures for crime recording.


Police Scotland, in cooperation with the Scottish Government and other criminal justice partners, such as the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, should seek to review and clarify the definition of serious assault.


To promote consistency in crime recording, Police Scotland should review the training needs of all those involved in crime recording decisions and develop a strategy to address those needs. The strategy should address initial and refresher training and bespoke training for crime managers and their staff. It should also set out how officers and staff will be kept up to date with changes to crime recording practice.

Publication type: 
Inspection report