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5 The scope excludes the following:
6 Due to quality and/or comparability issues, or an inability to supply data to the ABS, the statistics presented in this publication exclude the following:
7 The statistics in this collection relate to offenders proceeded against by police during the reference period 1 July 2016 to 30 June 2017. Additionally, selected statistics are available for the 2008–09 to 2015–16 reference periods.
8 The main counting unit for this collection is the "offender", represented in the statistics in data cubes 1 to 4. Data cube 5 uses "police proceedings" as the counting unit. The experimental statistics in data cube 6 use both offenders and police proceedings as counting units (refer to note 41).
Date of action
9 Data are compiled on the basis of the date that police initiated action, or proceeded against, an offender (e.g. the date the offender was charged, the date the offender was cautioned, etc.). The date the offender was proceeded against by police may not be the date when the offence occurred, or the date when the offender came to the attention of police. In some jurisdictions the data may reflect the date of record creation rather than date of action; however, this does not have a significant impact on the comparability of data across jurisdictions for offenders as there are no major lags between the two dates.
10 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.
Police proceeding counts
11 For the police proceeding population, an offender may be counted more than once if proceeded against on separate occasions by police during the reference period. Data are presented for both court and non-court proceedings.
12 Offence information presented in this publication relates to the principal offence allegedly committed by an individual offender during the reference period. These statistics are not designed to provide a count of the total number of individual offences that come to the attention of police.
13 For the offender counts, where a single offence is processed by police during the reference period, the offender is assigned that offence as their principal offence. Where multiple offences are committed by an offender, they are assigned a principal offence using the ABS National Offence Index (NOI). For more information about the NOI refer to note 48.
14 For the police proceeding counts, offenders who are proceeded against more than once in the reference period are assigned a principal offence for each separate date of police action. The following diagram provides an illustration of the assigning of a principal offence and the resulting counts for both populations.
Principal method of proceeding
15 As a person may be proceeded against for multiple offences, either on a single date or on different occasions, the various offences linked to that offender may result in different legal actions; for example, both court and non-court actions. For offender counts, the principal method of proceeding will be the method of proceeding associated with the principal offence assigned to that offender. For police proceeding counts, as offenders who are proceeded against more than once in the reference period are assigned a principal offence for each separate date of police action, they are also assigned the appropriate method linked to each principal offence.
16 Offender rates are expressed as the number of offenders per 100,000 of the ABS Estimated Resident Population (ERP). This method derives what are sometimes referred to as "crude rates". These rates generally accord with international and state and territory practice, and enable the comparison of the extent and type of offending across the individual states and territories, as well as a comparison over time.
17 Rates for the offender population are calculated using the ERP as at the midpoint of the reference period (e.g. 31 December 2016 for the 2016–17 reference period). The ERP used in the calculation of these rates is for persons aged 10 years and over for all states and territories. Where rates are presented for a sex or age group, the ERP used in the calculation of the rates refers to the relevant sex or age group.
18 ERP estimates and projections applied for the Australian Capital Territory exclude Jervis Bay Territory. All estimates and projections for Australia exclude the external territories of Christmas Island and Cocos (Keeling) Islands.
19 For more information on the ERP, see Australian Demographic Statistics, June quarter, 2017 (cat. no. 3101.0).
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander offender rates
20 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander offender rates are expressed per 100,000 of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population aged 10 years and over. This method derives what are sometimes referred to as "crude rates". The offender rates presented in this issue are derived from the estimated population for the years 2009 to 2011, as well as the Series B projections of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population, from the ABS publication Estimates and Projections, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, 2001 to 2026 (cat. no. 3238.0).
Series B is one of three main projection series (Series A, B and C) that have been published for the years 2011 to 2026. Series B assumes an annual decline of 0.5% in fertility rates; an annual increase of 1% in paternity rates; constant interstate migration at levels observed in the 2011 Census; and zero net overseas migration with no arrivals and no departures. It also assumes Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander life expectancy at birth will increase by 0.3 years per year for males and 0.25 years per year for females, reaching 73.5 years for males and 77.4 years for females by 2026.
21 These population estimates and projections are as at 30 June at the end of the reference period. A linear interpolation method was used to estimate the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population at the midpoint of each reference period (31 December) to align with the ERP used in calculating rates for the total population. The method derived an estimate at December 31 by calculating the average of the population estimates at 30 June of that year and the following year. The interpolated Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population estimates were then used to derive offender rates for each year.
22 Rates for the non-Indigenous population are calculated using the total ERP of persons aged 10 years and over for each state or territory minus the projected Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population aged 10 years and over.
Age standardisation of offender rates
23 Age standardisation is a statistical method that adjusts crude rates to account for age differences between study populations.
There are differences in the age distributions between Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous populations, with the former having a much younger population. In 2001, the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 18 years and over was 55%, compared with 76% of non-Indigenous people (and 75% of the total Australian population). The diagram below illustrates the differences in age distributions.
24 ESTIMATED RESIDENT POPULATION, AUSTRALIA – 30 JUNE 2001
Note: 2016–17 Indigenous Status data in South Australia are not comparable to previous reference periods, see Explanatory note 61.
Given the high levels of 'not stated' Indigenous Status for offenders proceeded against by a penalty notice, Indigenous Status data in this publication exclude penalty notices. Therefore, offender counts and rates presented in this publication do not include all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander offenders proceeded against by police.
The use of penalty notices by police is most prevalent for Theft, Public order offences, Offences against justice and Miscellaneous offences. The removal of those offenders who were proceeded against via a penalty notice results in reduced offender counts and rates for these four offence divisions in particular.
30 The proportion of offenders with a 'not stated' Indigenous Status varies by offence type.
(b) Includes offenders with an unknown principal offence
EXPERIMENTAL FAMILY AND DOMESTIC VIOLENCE STATISTICS
31 This release provides experimental data about offenders of selected Family and Domestic Violence (FDV) related offences, as recorded on selected state and territory police administrative recording systems. These data should be interpreted with caution, taking into account the factors described throughout these explanatory notes.
32 This publication only presents data about offenders of FDV-related offences for New South Wales, Victoria, Western Australia, Tasmania, the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory. National data about offenders of FDV-related offences are not available for the Recorded Crime – Offenders collection. Based on ABS assessment, Queensland FDV-related offence data have been excluded from this publication due to quality and comparability concerns. Police procedures surrounding the use of the FDV flag in Queensland differed considerably from those in other jurisdictions, which resulted in a substantial undercount of offenders with FDV-related offences. South Australia is unable to provide an FDV flag due to system constraints.
33 Users are advised against making comparisons with previous issues of the publication, as data have been revised and are not directly comparable.
34 Within the context of national Recorded Crime – Offenders statistics, an FDV-related offence is defined as:
"An offence involving at least two persons who are in a specified family or domestic relationship and which has been determined by police officers to be family and/or domestic violence related as part of their investigation."
A specified family or domestic relationship includes
35 For the purposes of this publication FDV-related offences are limited to the following ANZSOC Division/Subdivision offence types:
Family and Domestic Violence Flag
36 Data presented within this release are based on an FDV flag as recorded by police officers where they have determined an offence or incident to be FDV-related as defined by the relevant state or territory legislation under which they operate.
37 The comparability of data about offenders of FDV-related offences may vary across time periods and the selected states and territories due to a number of factors including:
38 The FDV flag is recorded in New South Wales, Victoria, Western Australia and Northern Territory Police systems at a proceeding level. This may result in a small number of offences in these jurisdictions being flagged as FDV-related which did not occur within an FDV relationship as specified in note 34. For example, this may occur when police charge an offender with an FDV-related offence as well as an additional offence which occurred against a stranger in the same incident and was dealt with by police as part of the same proceeding.
For the purposes of this publication, offences which were flagged by police to be FDV-related but occurred against a police officer or stranger were removed where they were able to be identified.
In the Australian Capital Territory the FDV flag is recorded on police systems at an offence level. This means that the flag is applied separately to each individual offence. Therefore only offences which occurred within a specified family or domestic relationship are flagged by police as FDV-related.
39 Tasmanian data about offenders with FDV-related offences are only available for offenders proceeded against by court action, and only for the following relationships:
40 For those jurisdictions where data were available, the following adjustments were made:
41 This publication presents a count of persons who were proceeded against by police for at least one selected offence which was flagged as FDV-related by police during the reference period. Data were compiled based on the date police initiated action, or proceeded against the offender, which may not necessarily reflect the date the alleged offence was committed.
Where an offender was proceeded against for multiple FDV-related offences during the reference period, they were assigned a principal FDV-related offence which has been determined based on the National Offence Index, 2009 (cat.no 1234.0.55.001). Any non FDV-related offences were excluded prior to the ranking process. Therefore, users should be aware that the statistics presented in data cube 6 are not comparable with other data presented within this publication.
Comment and Further Information
42 Users should note that the FDV data contained in this publication are considered to be experimental, and are subject to further evaluation. The ABS is interested in feedback from users of these statistics on any aspect of the release. Please send written feedback to: firstname.lastname@example.org
43 The national classifications used to collect and produce data about offenders are:
Australian and New Zealand Standard Offence Classification (ANZSOC), 2011
44 ANZSOC provides a uniform national framework for classifying offences across Australia and New Zealand for statistical purposes. The classification is a hierarchical structure allowing for varying degrees of detail to be published depending on the level of detail in the source information. Associated with the classification are coding rules which ensure that the counting of information is consistent across states and territories.
45 An offence classification was first developed in this format in 1997 called the Australian Standard Offence Classification (ASOC). A second edition of the ASOC was released in 2008 which contained updates to improve coverage to cater for offences of emerging importance; increase relevance and usability; and maintain comparability and continuity. In 2011, the offence classification was updated from the Australian Standard Offence Classification (ASOC) to the Australian and New Zealand Standard Offence Classification (ANZSOC); however, changes were not made to the content of the classification. For further information about ANZSOC refer to Australian and New Zealand Standard Offence Classification, 2011 (cat. no. 1234.0).
46 The offence information presented in this issue for the reference periods 2008–09 to 2016–17 is based on the 2011 version of ANZSOC. Data presented in the 2007–08 issue of this publication are based on ASOC 1997 and are not comparable.
47 For ease of reading, some ANZSOC offence categories have been abbreviated throughout this publication as follows:
National Offence Index (NOI), 2009
48 The NOI (published in National Offence Index, 2009 (cat. no. 1234.0.55.001)) is a tool which provides an ordinal ranking of offence categories in ANZSOC according to perceived seriousness in order to determine a principal offence. The purpose of the NOI is to enable the representation of an offender by a single offence in instances where multiple offences occur within the same incident or where offenders are proceeded against by police on more than one occasion in the reference period. For the purposes of this publication, the version of the NOI used to derive the offenders data has been modified to deal with specific issues for this collection; see notes 52, 56, 66 and 76–78. Refer to the Appendix for a copy of the NOI.
Method of Proceeding Classification
49 The method of proceeding describes the type of legal action (court or non-court) initiated by police against a person as a result of an investigation of an offence(s). The type of legal action may change as further investigation is undertaken by police. Not all changes made during the reference period may be reflected in this collection. The method of proceeding classification is a hierarchical classification. For details of the classification hierarchy refer to the Appendix. For information about the counting methodology used for methods of proceeding refer to note 15.
50 National offender statistics are compiled in order to maximise comparability across states and territories. This collection has been designed to facilitate comparisons of states and territories through the application of common national statistical standards and counting rules. However, some legislative and processing differences remain. The following information highlights those processes unique to a jurisdiction that may have had an impact on the data for this collection. This may include differences in recording practices, legislation or policy to combat particular types of crime.
New South Wales
51 New South Wales legislation does not contain discrete offences of stalking, intimidation and harassment. As these offences cannot be disaggregated, offenders proceeded against for stalking, intimidation and harassment have been coded to ANZSOC Group 0291 Stalking. Therefore, this group may be overstated and ANZSOC Division 05 Abduction, harassment and other offences against the person may be understated. Caution should be used when making comparisons with other states and territories.
52 From 1 May 2012 the NSW Police Force took over the role of policing the state's public transport network, through a dedicated Police Transport Command of 610 officers. This led to increases from 2012–13 in the number of offenders and proceedings in some ANZSOC categories, including Theft (due to fare evasion), Fraud and Public order offences. These offences are most often proceeded against by way of a penalty notice. An additional category of 'Fare evasion' has been presented in tables containing detailed offence data to assist comparison of Theft across jurisdictions. For the purpose of separating data for these offences from other offences, the National Offence Index has been supplemented with an additional ranking for Fare Evasion offences.
Please see the explanatory notes for Victoria, Queensland and South Australia for further information on fare evasion treatment in those jurisdictions. In other jurisdictions this function is performed entirely by third party organisations, and therefore the resulting offender data in those jurisdictions are out of scope of the Recorded Crime – Offenders collection.
53 From September 2011, the offence 'continue intoxicated and disorderly' was added to the list of offences for which a penalty notice may be issued.
54 Verbal Warning and Compliance Notice were two non-court proceedings included for the first time in 2009–10. They relate mainly to licensing enforcement (i.e. liquor, security industry, firearms). The Verbal Warning is a less formal process which informs the person that some breach(es) of regulations need to be corrected. The Compliance Notice is a written warning with a stipulated time period within which the breach(es) must be corrected. The Compliance Notice is a written warning with a stipulated time period within which the breach(es) must be corrected.
55 Caution should be exercised when interpreting data on counts of offenders and proceedings for Victoria. Penalty Infringement Notices (PINs) data are recorded on a separate system and are not linked to the primary Victoria Police crime recording system. Therefore, if an offender committed an offence in addition to a PIN then that offender may have been counted twice due to data matching issues. This may result in an over count of the total number of offenders, rates and police proceedings for Victoria.
56 In Victoria infringement notices and on-the-spot fines for public transport fare evasion offences are predominantly issued by third party organisations. Offences issued by these organisations are out of scope of this collection and are not included in the data. Infringement notices and on-the-spot fines may also be issued by Victoria Police (including Protective Service Officers); these are in scope and are published in Table 7 under the additional category of 'Fare evasion'. Caution should be used when interpreting these data for Victoria as only the police data are in scope for this collection. For the purpose of separating data for these offences from other offences, the National Offence Index has been supplemented with an additional ranking for Fare Evasion offences.
Please see the explanatory notes for New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia for further information on fare evasion treatment in those jurisdictions. In other jurisdictions this function is performed entirely by third party organisations, and therefore the resulting offender data in those jurisdictions are out of scope of the Recorded Crime – Offenders collection.
57 Queensland has a relatively high number of offenders with an unknown principal offence. This is due to the Queensland Police offender system containing reported offence details which are quite broad in their description. Where this occurs it may not be possible to determine the most serious offence, resulting in the principal offence being listed as "unknown".
A review was undertaken to determine if the number of offenders with an unknown principal offence could be reduced. This review found that a proportion of these records with an unknown offence code should be coded to ANZSOC Division 14 Traffic and vehicle regulatory offences and therefore are out of the scope of the Recorded Crime – Offenders collection. These records have been excluded from the 2016–17 data and data from the 2014–15 and 2015–16 reference periods have been revised to remove these records. As a result of these revisions, the total number of offenders in Queensland for 2014–15 and 2015–16 has decreased by approximately 3%. Users are advised to exercise caution when making comparisons to data prior to 2014–15 as the total number of offenders for earlier years are overstated.
58 For Public order offences, in comparison with other states and territories, Queensland Police make greater use of arrest, summons, cautions, and notices to appear as an action against an offender, and only limited use of penalty notices. This results in Queensland having the highest proportion of court actions of any state or territory.
59 Caution should be used when comparing counts of offenders and proceedings with a principal offence of Theft for Queensland to other jurisdictions as this division includes public transport fare evasion offences proceeded against by police. These data cannot be separately identified for Queensland, and are included in the ANZSOC Group 0829 Theft (except motor vehicles), nec. Note that offences proceeded against by Translink officers are out of scope of this collection.
Please see the explanatory notes for New South Wales, South Australia and Victoria for further information on fare evasion treatment in those jurisdictions. In other jurisdictions this function is performed entirely by third party organisations, and therefore the resulting offender data in those jurisdictions are out of scope of the Recorded Crime – Offenders collection.
60 The issuing of infringement notices or 'e-ticketing' by Queensland Police for public nuisance offences commenced from 8 November 2010. These offences include: public nuisance, public urination, obstruct police officer (in relation to the aforementioned public nuisance or public urination) and contravene requirement of a police officer (in relation to stating correct name and address regarding the above).
61 South Australia supplied Indigenous Status data for offenders proceeded against via drug diversions for the first time in the 2016–17 reference period, which has reduced the number of records with an ‘unknown’ Indigenous Status by approximately 97%. This has increased the total number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander offenders and non-indigenous offenders for South Australia when compared to data from previous years. In addition, the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander offenders and non-Indigenous offenders with a principal offence of Illicit drugs offences have increased due to the inclusion of Indigenous status data for drug diversions when compared to data from earlier reference periods. As a result of these improvements to data quality, 2016–17 is not comparable to previous reference periods for these data items.
62 South Australia Police provided data for formal cautions/warnings and conferences for the first time in 2013–14. For the 2013–14 to 2015–16 reference periods these methods of proceeding were only used for juvenile offenders. During the 2016–17 reference period South Australia police began issuing formal cautions and warnings to adult offenders for selected offences. The inclusion of this data for juvenile offenders in 2013–14 onwards and adult offenders in 2016–17 resulted in increases in the proportion of non-court actions for these reference periods.
63 The increased use of formal cautions and warnings as a method of proceeding has increased the number of offenders with an 'unknown' Indigenous Status for the 2016–17 reference period. Users are advised not to make comparisons between 2016–17 counts of offenders by Indigenous Status to data for earlier reference periods.
64 Caution should be exercised when interpreting counts of offenders and proceedings with a principal offence of Illicit drug offences for South Australia as the data may be overstated. Data relating to offenders issued with Cannabis Expiation Notices (CENs) and drug diversions are stored on separate infringement databases and this information cannot be linked to other databases that store information about offenders. As the databases cannot be linked, if an offender committed an offence in addition to a CEN, then they may be counted twice, resulting in an over count of the total number of offenders, rates and police proceedings for South Australia. Furthermore, Indigenous Status data for CENs are recorded as ‘not stated’.
65 General Expiation Notices (GENs) may be issued for Public order offences and Offences against justice and are stored on an infringement database that cannot be linked with other police databases that contain information about offenders. As a result, offenders with a principal offence of Public order offences or Offences against justice may be overstated as an offender may be counted twice if they have committed an offence in addition to the GEN during the same reference period.
66 In South Australia infringement notices for public transport fare evasion offences are predominantly issued by Public Transport Safety Branch which is part of South Australia Police. Infringement notices can also be issued by Adelaide Metro authorised officers but these offences are out of scope of this collection and are not included in the data. An additional category of 'Fare evasion' has been presented in tables containing detailed offence data to assist comparison of Theft across jurisdictions, for the 2014–15 reference periods onwards. Caution should be used when interpreting data on public transport fare evasion offences for South Australia as only the police data are in scope for this collection. For the purpose of separating data for these offences from other offences, the National Offence Index has been supplemented with an additional ranking for Fare Evasion offences.
Please see the explanatory notes for New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria for further information on fare evasion treatment in those jurisdictions. In other jurisdictions this function is performed entirely by third party organisations, and therefore the resulting offender data in those jurisdictions are out of scope of the Recorded Crime – Offenders collection.
67 A new system of data recording and storage was implemented by Western Australian police to replace the existing recording system during the 2016–17 reference period. A review was undertaken by Western Australian Police to ensure the quality and consistency of the data extracted from the new system, but caution should be used when comparing with data from previous years.
68 Western Australia Police utilise two separate crime recording systems for the Recorded Crime – Offenders collection. Data from both systems undergo a matching process to enable the production of offender statistics and associated demographic and offence information presented within this publication. Users should be aware that data may be slightly overstated as a result of the identifier matching process.
69 Data about police proceedings are unable to be successfully matched between the two separate crime recording systems used by Western Australia Police. Therefore data relating to police proceedings for Western Australia are not included in this publication. This affects Tables 16 and 17 and precludes the production of national data about police proceedings or the number of times an offender was proceeded against by police.
70 In 2013–14 and 2014–15 the number of offenders with a principal offence of Fraud, deception and related offences increased due to a number of historical incidents of Fraud being finalised by the Western Australia Police Fraud Squad. Caution should be exercised when making comparisons across years for Fraud offences.
71 For the 2016–17 cycle, a review of Tasmanian ANZSOC mappings identified that a number of offences related to boating were being incorrectly mapped to Division 16 Miscellaneous offences, rather than being identified as Division 14 Traffic and vehicle regulatory offences (and therefore out of the scope of the Recorded Crime – Offenders collection). Corrected data was provided for the 2015–16 and 2016–17 reference years. Consequently, offenders coded to Division 16 decreased by approximately half and the total number of offenders decreased by approximately 6%. Caution should be used when comparing data for Division 16 or for total offender counts for 2015–16 and 2016–17 with earlier years, as data for the earlier years will be overstated.
72 Minor coding changes were made by Tasmania Police in 2012–13, with the most notable impact being the movement of some offenders previously coded to ANZSOC Group 1312 Criminal Intent to ANZSOC Group 1121 Unlawfully obtain or possess regulated weapons/explosives and ANZSOC Group 1122 Misuse of regulated weapons/explosives.
73 Further coding changes were made by Tasmania Police in 2011–12, with the most notable impact being the movement of some offenders previously coded to ANZSOC Group 1322 Liquor and tobacco offences to ANZSOC Group 1541 Resist or hinder government official (excluding police officer, justice official or government security officer) and ANZSOC Group 1562 Resist or hinder police officer or justice official.
74 From 4 April 2011, Tasmania Police were only able to proceed against youth offenders for minor drug offences under the Youth Justice Act 1997, rather than give Illicit Drug Diversion Initiative cautions and diversions. This resulted in an increased number of court actions for youth offenders for Illicit drug offences between 2009–10 and 2010–11.
75 For the 2010–11 Recorded Crime – Offenders collection, Tasmania Police undertook a review of their ANZSOC mappings and implemented coding changes that impacted on some principal offence divisions for the 2009–10 and 2010–11 reference periods, most notably Division 04 Dangerous or negligent acts endangering persons, Division 07 Unlawful entry with intent, Division 08 Theft and related offences and Division 13 Public order offences. For details about these coding changes, refer to the Explanatory Notes of the 2010–11 issue of this publication.
76 Offence data for stealing property in the Northern Territory are predominantly coded to the ANZSOC division level supplementary code, 0800 Theft and related offences, not further defined. This ANZSOC division level supplementary code is unranked on the National Offence Index (NOI), which results a comparatively large proportion of offenders being coded to an unknown principal offence.
77 To improve the principal offence data for the Northern Territory, it was determined that the '0800 Theft and related offences, not further defined' category be added to the NOI rankings used for the processing of the Recorded Crime – Offenders data. All offences within ANZSOC Division 08 Theft and related offences are co-located on the NOI so 0800 Theft and related offences, not further defined has been ranked at the end of this grouping (in line with the treatment of other supplementary codes on the NOI).
78 Data for the 2016–17 reference period, as well as revised data from 2008–09 to 2015–16, have been derived with the inclusion of this offence on the NOI ranking. This change has decreased the number of offenders being coded to an "unknown" principal offence by between 83–99% over the time series and increased the number of offenders being coded a principal offence of: Dangerous/negligent acts, Robbery/extortion, Unlawful entry with intent, Theft, Fraud/deception or Prohibited/regulated weapons. Users are advised to refer to the most recent publication and data cubes for Northern Territory Recorded Crime – Offenders statistics.
79 An internal review of recording practices and systems undertaken by the Northern Territory Police in 2015 highlighted concerns with the method of proceeding data and as such, data on police proceedings for the Northern Territory were not included in the 2014–15 and 2015–16 publications. Due to system constraints, an accurate method of proceeding (court or non-court action) could not always be determined. Subsequent investigation determined that the issue was limited to the method of proceeding data and that total police proceedings data is of sufficient quality for publication. Total police proceedings data for NT have been included in the Police proceedings data cube.
80 Northern Territory Police are unable to provide cautions or warnings data, as these methods are largely used informally and are not recorded in the primary proceedings system. It is estimated that there are very few instances where such methods are used and therefore the impact on the data presented in this publication are minimal.
81 There are a small proportion of offenders that come into contact with police who are unable to provide their exact date of birth. In these situations, where only a birth year is provided, police may allocate a nominal birth date or alternatively, police may record the offender's date of birth as unknown.
Australian Capital Territory
82 Criminal Infringement Notices (CINs) were introduced on 24 December 2009 for a range of minor public order offences, including defacing premises, urinating in public, failing to comply with noise abatement direction and consuming liquor in a prescribed public place. CINs are aimed at having an immediate deterrent effect on an offender while providing an alternative to court action. These offences are not recorded on the primary Australian Capital Territory police recording system.
83 Caution should be exercised when interpreting data on counts of offenders and proceedings for the ACT. As the CINs data are recorded on a separate system, this information cannot be linked to other databases that store information about offenders. Therefore, if an offender has committed an offence in addition to a CIN then that offender may be counted twice. This may result in an over count of the total number of offenders, rates and police proceedings for the Australian Capital Territory.
84 Additionally, CINs data do not contain unique identifiers attached to the records. Therefore, if an offender has received multiple CINs during the reference period they may be counted multiple times. This may result in an over count of the total number of offenders, rates and police proceedings for the Australian Capital Territory.
85 The Census and Statistics Act 1905 provides the authority for the ABS to collect statistical information, and requires that statistical output shall not be published or disseminated in a manner that is likely to enable the identification of a particular person or organisation. This requirement means that the ABS must ensure that any statistical information about individuals cannot be derived from published data.
86 To minimise the risk of identifying individuals in aggregate statistics, a technique is used to randomly adjust cell values and summary variables. This technique is called perturbation and was applied to the Recorded Crime – Offenders collection for the first time for the 2013–14 release. Perturbation involves small random adjustment of the statistics and is considered the most satisfactory technique for avoiding the release of identifiable statistics while maximising the range of information that can be released. These adjustments have a negligible impact on the underlying pattern of the statistics.
87 After perturbation, a given published cell value will be consistent across all tables. However, the sum of components of a total will not necessarily give the same result as the published total in a particular table. As such, proportions may add to more or less than 100%. Readers are advised to use the published totals rather than deriving totals based on the component cells.
88 Cells with relatively small values may be proportionally more affected by perturbation than large values. Users are advised against conducting analyses and drawing conclusions based on small values.
89 Perturbation has been applied to the 2016–17 data as well as historical data presented in this publication. Previously, a different technique was used to confidentialise these data and therefore there may be small differences between historical data presented in this publication and those published in previous issues of this publication.
90 Revised data for 2015–16 were received from Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory during the preparation of this publication. Users are advised against making comparisons between data in this issue and in previous issues of the publication, as data may not be directly comparable.
91 Northern Territory data has been revised for the entire time series to reduce the level of offenders being coded to an "unknown" principal offence. See notes 76–78 for further information.
92 Queensland data has been revised for the 2014–15 and 2015–16 reference periods to remove out of scope offence records originally coded as unknown offences (see note 57 for further information). This has decreased the total number of offenders in Queensland by approximately 3% and the total number of offenders nationally by less than 1% for each of those reference periods. Caution should be used when comparing the data for the total number of offenders prior to 2014–15 as data for earlier years are overstated.
COMPARISONS TO OTHER ABS DATA
Recorded Crime – Victims
93 There are strong links between victims and offenders recorded by police in their administrative systems. Once a victim is recorded by police an investigation may ensue which could result, although not always, in an offender being proceeded against by police. However, there are a number of limitations in comparing the Recorded Crime – Offenders collection and the Recorded Crime – Victims collection:
Despite these differences, broad comparisons can be made between the two collections. For more detailed information about data comparability in relation to the Recorded Crime – Victims collection and more generally about using administrative and survey data, refer to the information paper, Measuring Victims of Crime: A Guide to Using Administrative and Survey Data, June 2011 (cat. no. 4500.0.55.001).
For more information about the Recorded Crime – Victims collection, refer to Recorded Crime – Victims, Australia (cat. no. 4510.0).
94 Data relating to the number of court action proceedings in Recorded Crime – Offenders are not strictly comparable to the number of defendants sourced from the Criminal Courts collection. Not all court actions initiated by police will proceed to a criminal court as police proceedings may be withdrawn or changed to other legal actions during the course of an investigation. Furthermore, a defendant appearing in a criminal court in Australia may be prosecuted via charges initiated by authorities other than state and territory police. There will also be lags between when the police initiate action and when a criminal court finalises a defendant's case. In most cases the offender counts should be higher than defendant counts; however, this may not be the case for all offence types due to charges laid by other authorities. For more information about criminal courts refer to Criminal Courts, Australia (cat. no. 4513.0).
95 Special tabulations may be able to be produced on request to meet individual user requirements. For further information contact the National Centre for Crime and Justice Statistics by email at
96 Other ABS publications which may be of interest are listed on the Related Information tab.
97 The ABS web site includes a release calendar detailing products to be released in the next six months.
98 Non-ABS sources which may be of interest include:
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