and published have been announced by home secretary Jack Straw.
The changes, which were recommended by a joint Home Office/Association of Chief Police Officers working party, will be the first major revision to the coverage and counting rules since 1980.
By changing both the counting rules and the coverage it is hoped that
meaningful and reliable way.
Under the present rules, which have attracted some criticism, a
string of offences by one offender can be counted as one crime.
The aim of the counting rule revisions is broadly to adhere as
closely as possible to the principle of 'one crime per victim'.
Equating the number of crimes recorded to the number of victims will
lead to greater accuracy and more honesty in the figures. This more
accurate picture is likely to reflect the figures in the British
The changes to coverage give a less arbitrary view of notifiable
offences, with clearer rules for determining whether new and revised
offences should be notifiable. The coverage will also be expanded to
include all indictable and triable either way offences. The new
framework will provide greater clarity in deciding how to treat new
or revised offences.
Speaking at a Police Federation meeting in Brighton, Mr Straw said:
'I very much welcome the recommendations of the joint Home Office/ACPO working party on ways to improve the recorded crime figures.
'The government is pledged to strengthen the independence of
the National Statistical Service, and to improve the integrity of
official statistics. In the home office recorded crime statistics are
a top priority.
'Over the years the crime figures have attracted particular
criticism. Recorded crime figures can never give a complete picture
of crime but better information is essential if the police and other
agencies are to have effective policies to tackle crime.
'This new system will give a more accurate picture of the levels of crime which we are facing today. And I believe it will be a more honest and open system too.'
Mr Straw also said that publication dates would be set according to a
fixed formula. In future it will no longer be possible for political
considerations to influence publication dates.
'I want to take the politics out of crime statistics. Ministers
have traditionally given detailed briefing when the crime figures are
published. But in future, the director of research and statistics
will give the briefing which will ensure a more balanced and
Welcoming the measures to improve the recorded crime statistics, ACPO
crime committee spokesman and chief constable of West Mercia David
'These changes make sense. By defining more clearly what is a
'crime', and the way multiple crimes should be recorded, a more
robust and useful set of figures will become available.'