Crime statistics consultation

A consultation on how Official Statistics present information on recorded crime and related topics

The Scottish Crime Recording Board are asking how the official statistics on recorded crime and related topics should be presented. Each year Scottish Government statisticians report on crimes and offences reported by Police Scotland. As the number and types of crimes vary over time, the Scottish Crime Recording Board are consulting users on how these statistics can best be presented.

Currently drug-related crimes are recorded under “Group 5: Other Crimes (including Crimes against public justice, Handling an offensive weapon, Drugs and Other)“. Drug crimes form the majority of “Other crimes” and include possession (84% of drug crime in 2017/18) and those relating to the production or supply of drugs. The Crime Board are seeking views on whether “Other crimes” would better be described as “Crimes against society“.

They also seek views on whether changes should be made to how statistics on drug possession are presented. Options include:

  • Make no change and retain the current classification which groups possession and supply crimes together, or
  • Record possession separately from supply crimes. The Crime Board note that possession “does not have a victim” (1) and this change would mean that “cases of drug possession would be included in the national total for all police recorded offences, rather than crimes.” (2) This option would result in 30,000 possession cases being classified as offences rather than crimes.

How to contribute

The full consultation document is available from:

The consultation is not limited to drug-related matters and includes questions on wider official crime and related statistics.

Responses can be made until 8th October via Citizen Space at:

Justice Analytical Services at Scottish Government are holding a user day in Edinburgh on 15th August. The aim of this event is to present the topics covered in the consultation, answer questions and give attendees an opportunity to provide any feedback (which would be in addition to their response through Citizen Space). If there is anyone who would be interested in attending this event they can either respond to this email or to

Feel free to pass this information and invite to any interested parties.

(1) Part Two: An alternative way to present recorded crime statistics para. 79.
(2) ibid. para. 81.

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