The RSS statement points out that 'only around 60% of the suicides that were registered in 2012 in England and Wales will actually have occurred in 2012, the other two-fifths will have occurred in preceding years.' This is because the current legislation allows for the registration of deaths which are subject to an inquest to be delayed until the cause of death has been established. The registration delays for inquest verdicts on suicides, the RSS argues, means that calendar-year trends are 'seriously confounded'.
In Scotland, all deaths are registered within eight days of death having been ascertained, so the registration year and year of death are, in effect, the same. The RSS has for some years campaigned for comparable legislation in England and Wales. In 2012, it released a statement saying that current legislation 'poses a risk to public health' and last year RSS president John Pullinger wrote to the National Statistician.
The story has been picked up by the Mirror's ampp3d data website, which also focused on the fact that the suicide rate for men is nearly three times that of women.