Keeping Current: The British Crime Survey


Within Crime-Victim interaction we look at the ‘fear of crime’ and many students learn about the British Crime Survey as part of this. More-and-more so students are using out-dated versions of the BCS (like pre-2000 which seems to be in many text books) which are methodologically flawed in their delivery. Following a review in 2001 the BCS has altered the methods quite a lot and these flaws have been remedied.

So, it’s important to keep up-to-date with what’s going on and not use the old versions of the BCS (soon out dated BCS’s will not be getting credited in examinations) and ensure that we are teaching the most recent version of the BCS – which is the 2006/07 one.

What is the BCS then?

The BCS is a continuous survey of adults aged 16 or over living in private households in England and Wales. The findings in this bulletin are based on 47,203 face-to-face interviews conducted by BMRB Social Research between April 2006 and March 2007. The sample is designed to be representative of private households, and of adults aged 16 and over living in private households. The overall response rate for the calendar year 2006/07 was 75 percent.

BCS respondents are asked about their experiences of crime-related incidents in the 12 months prior to their interview. In addition, the respondents are asked about their attitudes towards different crime-related issues such as the police, criminal justice system, perceptions of crime and anti-social behaviour. [From the Full 06/07 BCS pg. 22]

The British Crime Survey is a very important source of information about levels of crime and public attitudes to crime; but what actually does the BCS do?

  • The BCS measures the amount of crime in England and Wales by asking people about crimes they have experienced in the last year.
  • The BCS includes crimes which are not reported to the police, so it is an important alternative to police records. Victims do not report crime for various reasons. Without the BCS the Government would have no information on these unreported crimes.
  • The BCS helps to identify those most at risk of different types of crime, and this helps in the planning of crime prevention programmes.
  • The BCS looks at people’s attitudes to crime, such as how much they fear crime and what measures they take to avoid it.
  • The BCS looks at people’s attitudes to the Criminal Justice System, including the police and the courts.

PDF 2006/07 BCS Resources

Tags: , , , , ,

2 Responses to “Keeping Current: The British Crime Survey”

  1. Jamie Davies April 4, 2008 at 8:23 am #

    Just found another website with loads more info on about the BCS: Clicky clicky.

  2. Joshua January 29, 2010 at 2:29 pm #

    Hello.. i’m doing a crime report on my school.. Radyr Comprehensive i was wondering if you could help me. what would you look for in a crime survey of a school?

Leave a Reply to Joshua Cancel reply