RECORDED CRIME - OFFENDERS COLLECTION
Data from this collection was first published for the 2007-08 reference period. The collection provides a measure of the number of offenders who come into contact with the criminal justice system at an early stage of the process - that is, the 'Investigation and charging' stage. Following the recording of a crime as reported by a victim or detected by a police officer, the criminal incident moves to an investigation phase. Decisions are made as to whether or not an offender will be proceeded against by police.
This publication presents statistics about alleged offenders aged 10 years and over who were proceeded against by police during the period 1 July 2008 to 30 June 2009, for all states and territories.
The statistics are based on data extracted from the administrative records of state and territory police agencies. National statistics require a level of uniformity when compiling data from different states and territories and data from the Recorded Crime - Offenders collection have been compiled according to national standards and classifications (see Explanatory Notes, paragraphs 19-22).
Responsibility for policing largely resides with individual Australian state and territory governments, therefore different legislative offences and practices may exist across jurisdictions. National standards and classifications are used to produce comparable data about offenders across jurisdictions, however, there will be genuine differences in data across jurisdictions for some offence types as the data largely reflects the administrative processes of police agencies in dealing with alleged offenders. Furthermore, the range of court and non-court actions available to police when proceeding against offenders may vary across jurisdictions. For more information about the differences across jurisdictions refer to paragraphs 34-51 of the Explanatory Notes.
For the data relating to the profile of offenders, an offender is only counted once regardless of how many times he or she may have been dealt with by police during the reference period. For example, if an offender committed an offence on two different dates during the financial year and police proceeded against the offender for each separate incident, the offender would only be counted once.
Police proceeding counts
Data relating to police proceedings represent a count for each separate occasion on which police initiate legal action against an offender. Offenders may therefore be counted more than once during the reference period.
The offence categories referred to in this publication relate to an offender's most serious offence, known as the 'principal' offence. For example, an offender committing multiple offences within the same incident (e.g. assault and theft) only on one occasion during the reference period would be assigned a principal offence based on the most serious offence type using an ordinal ranking from the National Offence Index (NOI) 2009. In this instance, the principal offence would be assault. The same method applies to offenders committing multiple offences on different dates during the financial year. All offences committed by the offender during the financial year are reviewed and one principal offence is assigned to each offender based on the most serious offence.
Offence information is presented for all divisions of the 2008 edition of ASOC, with the exception of Division 14 - traffic and vehicle regulatory offences; subdivision 041 - dangerous or negligent operation of a vehicle and Group 1523 - breach of bail.
For further information about the scope, methodology, classification of offences and definitions used in this publication see Explanatory Notes paragraphs 3-7, 9-18 and 19-22, and the Glossary.
For ease of reading, some terms have been abbreviated throughout this publication. The term 'and related offences' has been omitted for the following offences: homicide and related offences; sexual assault and related offences; robbery, extortion and related offences; theft and related offences; and fraud, deception and related offences.