4519.0 - Recorded Crime - Offenders, 2008-09 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 18/03/2010   
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Data Quality Declaration - Recorded Crime - Offenders

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. The statistics contained in this publication are derived 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.

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 2008 to 30 June 2009, for all states and territories. This includes information about the most serious offence, referred to as the principal offence, associated with an alleged offender. Statistics are also presented on the number of police proceedings that police initiated in the form of court and non-court actions during 2008–09 for all states and territories except Western Australia.

The scope of the collection includes all alleged offenders, aged 10 years and over, who have been proceeded against by police during the reference period.

All criminal offences where police agencies have the authority to take legal action against an individual are included, with the exception of those outlined below. 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 The proceeding may also be withdrawn or changed from a court to a non-court action.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.

Offences are classified to divisions of the Australian Standard Offence Classification (ASOC), second edition 2008. Specifically the following offence types are included in the collection:

  • substantive offences (e.g. robbery, murder, assault)
  • attempted offences (e.g. attempted robbery)
  • aid and abet offences
  • conspiracy offences.
            The scope excludes the following:
          • persons less than 10 years of age;
          • organisations;
          • offences that come under the authority of agencies other than state and territory police, such as Environmental Protection Authorities, etc;
          • and proceedings initiated by federal police.

            Due to quality and/or comparability issues, the statistics presented in this publication exclude the following:
          • traffic offence information specifically related to ASOC Division 14 - Road Traffic and Motor Vehicle Regulatory Offences and Subdivision 041 - Dangerous or negligent operation of a vehicle;
          • Indigenous offenders for Victoria, Western Australia, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory;
          • ASOC Group 1523 - Breach of Bail;
          • and police proceedings data for Western Australia.

            Note: Data about police-initiated court proceedings for Division 14 and Subdivision 041 are available for all states and territories except Victoria as data cubes on the ABS website. Victorian traffic data are not held within the Victorian Police offender system (LEAP) as the data are processed by an external third party.

                    Outputs include:
                  • Offender counts by principal offence
                  • Offender characteristics (age , sex and Indigenous status)
                  • Offender rates per 100,000 persons, either aged 10 years or more, or age specific offender rates
                  • Police initiated court and non-court proceeding counts by principal offence

    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. Information from future cycles of the collection are expected to be released within 8 months of the reference period.


    National offender statistics are compiled in order to maximise comparability across states and territories. The collection has been designed to facilitate comparisons of states and territories though the application of common national statistical standards and counting rules. However, some legislative and processing differences remain which may include different recording practices, legislation or policy across the various jurisdictions to combat particular types of crime. Further information about such differences for each state and territory, where relevant, are available in the Explanatory Notes section of the publication.


    Due to differing scope and counting rules, the data in the Recorded Crime - Offenders publication are not strictly comparable to data published in other national and state/territory publications, but broad comparisons can be made.

            The collection uses the ASOC (2008) to classify offences and applies a set of national counting rules to establish the number of offenders and police proceedings.

    A number of legislative and administrative system changes have occurred over time and the statistical impact of these changes is detailed in the Explanatory Notes.


    The Offender statistics 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.

    Please refer to the Downloads tab for the products that are available for free from this collection.

    If the required information is not available from the publication or 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: <