Crime Survey for England and Wales

Alternative Title: 
British Crime Survey (BCS)

The British Crime Survey (BCS) was primarily a 'victimisation' survey for England and Wales (Scotland conducting its own crime survey - see Scottish Crime and Justice Survey). It is now called the Crime Survey for England and Wales. Respondents are asked about experiences of property and personal crimes which they themselves have experienced in 12 months prior to interview (including crimes not reported to the police). The scope of the BCS goes beyond the counting of criminal incidents, although it is for this estimate that it has become established as a definitive source of information. it has also been successful at developing special measures to measure the extent of domestic violence, stalking and sexual victimisation, which are probably least reported to police, but among the most serious of crimes in their impact on victims.

The dataset includes information from two sections of the survey:

  • the non-victim form questionnaire which gathers respondent-level data on topics such as fear of crime; perception of antisocial behaviour; experiences of the police; attitudes to the criminal justice system; crime prevention and security
  • the victim form questionnaire which contains offence-level data on topics such as the nature and circumstances of the incident; details of ofenders; security measures; costs; emotional reactions. Other modules were fielded however are currently unavailable.

The Scottish data collected as part of the 1982 and 1988 rounds of the British Crime Survey is available from the UK Data Service under the Study Numbers SN 4368 (1982) and SN 4599 (1988).


Spatial Coverage: 
United Kingdom
Data Creator: 
Home office. Research, Development and Statistics Directorate
Time Period: 

Repeated cross-sectional study: approximately once every two years, changed to annually as of 2001.

Data Publisher:


Machine-readable documentation in Adobe PDF.


The full report for the 2010-11 British Crime Survey, is available on the Home Office website.

File Descriptions: 


  • bcs20023*.por are SPSS portable files
  • *.pdf are the portable document training and user guide files
  • bcs20023*.rft are rich text format data dictionary files
  • UKDA_Study_5059_Information.htm is the html data desription file


File Storage: 

2002-03 survey written to CD-ROM 24/3/2006


SPSS portable files.

Data Access: 

Users must register with the UK Data Service before receiving a copy of data files. Edinburgh University users may contact the Data Library for access.