Police forces record some crimes which are subsequently 'no crimed', where it is judged by the police that no crime actually took place.
Data on no-crimes are published in annex A of the ‘Crime outcomes in England and Wales 2013 to 2014’ bulletin. The Office for National Statistics also publish some summary data in the User Guide to Crime Statistics.
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.
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.