4519.0 - Recorded Crime - Offenders, 2010–11 Quality Declaration 
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 09/02/2012   
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QUALITY DECLARATION - SUMMARY

INSTITUTIONAL ENVIRONMENT

    In November 1990 an Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) was made between the Commonwealth and the states and territories concerning the establishment of the National Crime Statistics Unit (NCSU) as a National Common Police Service, with a role to initiate, coordinate and oversee the development and production of national uniform crime statistics. Recorded Crime - Offenders data has been available since 2007-08.

    The statistics contained in the publication are provided from administrative systems maintained by state and territory police. Data have been compiled according to national standards in order to maximise consistency between the states and territories. As such, the NCSU compiles, analyses, publishes and disseminates national recorded crime offenders statistics subject to the provisions in the Census and Statistics Act 1905 (Clth).

    For information on the institutional environment of the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), including the legislative obligations of the ABS, financing and governance arrangements, and mechanisms for scrutiny of ABS operations, please see ABS Institutional Environment.

    RELEVANCE

    Recorded Crime - Offenders (cat no. 4519.0) presents statistics about the characteristics of alleged offenders who were proceeded against by police during the period 1 July 2010 to 30 June 2011, for all states and territories. The collection presents information about alleged offenders aged 10 years and over. It also includes information about the most serious offence, referred to as the principal offence, associated with an alleged offender. For the offender population, an offender is only counted once irrespective of how many offences they may have committed within the same incident or how many times they were dealt with by police during the reference period.
      Statistics are also presented on the number of police proceedings that police initiated in the form of court and non-court actions during 2010-11 for all states and territories except Western Australia. For the police initiated proceeding population, an offender may be counted more than once if proceeded against on separate occasions by police during the reference period.
        All criminal offences where police agencies have the authority to take legal action against an individual are included, except motor vehicle/traffic related offences and breach of bail. Depending on the type of offence committed, police will either initiate a court or non-court action. Court actions largely comprise the laying of charges against an alleged offender that must be answered in court. Offenders may be taken into custody, granted bail or issued with a summons for these charges pending an appearance in court. The proceeding may also be withdrawn or changed from a court to a non-court action. Non-court actions comprise legal actions such as informal or formal cautions/warnings, conferencing, counselling, drug diversionary schemes, or the issuing of penalty or infringement notices, which do not require an appearance in court.

        TIMELINESS

        The Recorded Crime - Offenders collection is conducted annually for offenders who were proceeded against and recorded by police during the period 1 July to 30 June. Data and accompanying data cubes are expected to be released within 8 months of the reference period. Each release includes data for the current reference year, along with time series for some data items.

        ACCURACY

        Recorded Crime - Offenders data are extracted from administrative systems maintained by state and territory police. The data are not subject to sampling error. Non-sampling errors can arise from inaccuracies in recording by police agencies, when the data are extracted, processed and disseminated. The ABS has limited influence over any errors associated with data recorded by external sources. The ABS provides a collection manual which outlines the scope, coverage, counting rules and data item definitions for the Recorded Crime - Offenders collection to minimise data extraction errors. Efficient processing and editing procedures are in place within the ABS to minimise processing and reporting errors.
          Revisions to published data are irregular. Revisions to historical data are made when new information about the comparability of data over time is identified. This may occur when errors or omissions are identified in the administrative data supplied to the ABS in prior years.

          COHERENCE

          In order to ensure consistency in the data for each state and territory, Recorded Crime - Offenders statistics are compiled according to national standards and classifications. The collection uses the Australian and New Zealand Standard Offence Classification, 2011 (ANZSOC) (cat. no. 1234.0) to classify offence types and applies a set of national counting rules to establish the number of offenders and police proceedings. However, some differences still occur due to state and territory legislative requirements, different recording practices, limitations of the various administrative databases that are used to extract the data or policies across various jurisdictions to combat particular types of crime, and the statistical impacts of these are detailed in the Explanatory Notes.
            Due to differing scope and counting rules, the data in the Recorded Crime - Offenders publication are not strictly comparable with data published in other national and state/territory publications, many of which deal with reported offences, rather than offenders, however broad comparisons can still be made.

            INTERPRETABILITY

            The Recorded Crime - Offenders publication contains detailed Explanatory Notes, Appendices and Glossary that provide information on the data sources, counting rules, terminology, classifications and other technical aspects associated with these statistics.

            To assist in the comparison of the offender populations across states and territories, offender rates are included in the publication. Indigenous offender rates, both crude and age standardised, are included to allow for meaningful comparisons of the Indigenous and non-Indigenous offender populations.

            ACCESSIBILITY

            In addition to the information provided in the publication, a series of supplementary Data Cube tables are also available providing detailed breakdowns by state and territory. Please refer to the Downloads tab for the products that are available from this collection.

            If the required information is not available from the publication or the Data Cubes, the National Centre for Crime and Justice Statistics within the ABS may be able to help you with a customised service to suit your needs. Email: <crime.justice@abs.gov.au>.