In an assessment report (no 288 on this page), Ed Humpherson of the UK Statistics Authority explained that the creation of Police Scotland (formed in April 2013) has ‘represented a significant change in the crime recording landscape’ which has warranted a re-assessment of whether the statistics meet the required standards for designated national statistics.
The report sets out the list of requirements that the statistics must meet. ‘We expect statistical producers to do more than simply check and then reproduce the numbers they have collected,’ Humpherson explains. The UKSA Code of Practice requires producers to ‘add value’ to the data it produces, such as explaining the context, providing assurance about quality, explaining limitations and risks, and providing insights.
The situation, Humpherson continues, is not the same as that in England and Wales, where there are a number of underlying concerns about the data. ‘In Scotland, there is less direct evidence of data problems at the operational level,’ he says. 'We think that the Scottish Government should be able, once it has the results of an independent crime recording audit, to combine existing and new evidence into a stronger framework of assurance.'
The Statistics Authority is now assessing the extent to which statistics produced by the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) meet the UKSA code of practice for official statistics (and is taking user views until 11 September).