Annex 4: User engagement
7.31. These statistics are used by a large number of stakeholders within central government, the police and other public bodies for a variety of purposes.
7.32. Crime statistics are also used by a variety of external stakeholders. A flavour of such uses are:
- Utility companies who wish to assess the safety of an area before sending employees out into the public;
- Insurance companies assessing the risk of crime in different areas;
- Local authority planning;
- National and local journalism;
- Academic research; and
- Students and school pupils writing dissertations and carrying out projects.
7.33. From April-June 2015, Justice Analytical Services conducted a consultation of stakeholders and users of the suite of publications based on returns from Police Scotland, which includes the Recorded Crime in Scotland statistical bulletin series. The main objectives of this consultation were to: understand who the users are, what their requirements for data are and the benefits of any new suggested structure and content; guide the future strategy for how, when and what we publish regarding police data; and identify improvements that will ease and increase the use of police data in the future.
7.34. Reflecting our commitment to user engagement and to establishing a broad evidence base to inform our future publications, we used a variety of consultation methods to capture the views of both expert and non-expert users. This included one-to-one interviews, user group discussions, social media interaction and written surveys.
7.35. In this consultation, users discussed utilising the Police Recorded Crime publication in multiple ways, including:
- Selecting headline figures for briefing and communication lines;
- Monitoring trends over time;
- Developing policy;
- Understanding local crime rates and clear up rates;
- Understanding police performance;
- Making comparisons in conjunction with other justice statistics and data from other sources;
- Providing legitimacy and reassurance around police management data.
In many cases, the themes reported above replicated and built on those identified in previous consultations.
7.36. A report on the results of the consultation can be found at the link below: http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Statistics/Browse/Crime-Justice/scotstatcrime/StakeCon/RCUC2015.
An update on the actions taken to date, as a result of the needs identified and proposals made during the 2015 consultation, is available on the same page.
7.37. Justice Analytical Services has reflected on the feedback received from the consultation during the production of the 2014-15 bulletin. This includes the addition of graphics to highlight the main points conveyed by the statistics.
7.38. This consultation builds on previous and on-going engagement around crime statistics, details of which can be found at: http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Statistics/Browse/Crime-Justice/scotstatcrime/StakeCon.
7.39. National statistics are a tool used in decision making both inside and outside government, and for this tool to be effective it must be designed to meet the needs of users. We always welcome feedback on the content and the uses made of our statistical bulletins and users are invited to submit their comments and any suggestions for improvement to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you would like to be kept informed about developments in crime statistics, we suggest registering with ScotStat: http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Statistics/scotstat.
7.40. Further information on users and uses of the statistics is available in the User Guide to Recorded Crime Statistics in Scotland, which can be found at: http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Statistics/Browse/Crime-Justice/PubRecordedCrime/UserGuide.