Summary figures for ‘no crime’ data are published by the Office for National Statistics in the User Guide to Crime Statistics.
Police forces record some crimes which are subsequently ‘no crimed’ where it is judged by the police that no crime actually took place.
The Home Office Counting Rules (HOCR) set out circumstances under which a crime report may be ‘no crimed’. These include situations where a crime is considered to have been recorded in error or where, having been recorded, additional verifiable information becomes available that determines that no crime was committed (for further information see the ‘general rules’ section of the HOCR).
‘No crimes’ relate to crimes already recorded and are therefore distinct from incident reports that are not crimed in the first place.
Crime reports that are ‘no crimed’ are removed from police crime data and thus from the police recorded crime statistics. The majority of ‘no crime’ decisions are made by police forces before data are submitted to the Home Office, and although some revisions are made to published crime statistics as a result of ‘no crimes’, these are typically small.
The Home Office routinely collects data from police forces on the number of incidents that have been recorded as crimes but have then been ‘no crimed’. A table showing the numbers and percentages of ‘no crimes’ by offence group is available (in Table UG9 of the User Guide tables) from the ONS website The Home Office has made available the force level data that underpin this table.
Datasets are available below as Excel spreadsheets (.xls) and in Comma Separated Values (.csv) format.
Great care is needed in interpreting ‘no crime’ data. The proportion of ‘no crimes’ does not in itself infer high or low compliance with the overall requirements of the HOCR. Levels of ‘no criming’ are particularly susceptible to local recording practice and the IT systems in use. A police force having a high level of ‘no crimes’ may be indicative of that force having a local recording process that captures all reports as crimes at the first point of contact and before any further investigation has taken place to consider the full facts. Equally a police force with a low level of ‘no crimes’ might be indicative of a recording practice by which reports are retained as incidents only until a fuller investigation has taken place.
In 2012, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) in their wider review of crime and incident recording examined force ‘no crime’ processes to determine if decisions to ‘crime’ were made correctly. In HMIC’s review, which looked at a small number of ‘no crime’ decisions (less than 5,000 across England and Wales), they found that nationally the ‘no crime’ compliance rate was 87 per cent; this was 84 per cent for violent crime. The range for correct ‘no crime’ decisions was between 75 and 100 per cent across all police forces.