Bureau Crime Audits Made Public


Click here for the full report (pdf, 71kb)

Release date: 2 May, 2011

NSW Police are accepting far more of the crime incidents reported to them as genuine, particularly in relation to non-domestic assault, according to the results of the latest audit of NSW Police crime statistics.

The audits are carried out by the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research. They involve a systematic search of police records to ensure that police procedures are being followed in the recording of crime.

Police standard operating procedure requires that a report of crime to police be rejected only if verifiable information is available which indicates that the crime/incident did not occur or was very unlikely to have occurred.

Rejected reports of crime are not counted in police crime statistics.

NSW is the only state in the country that subjects its crime statistics to independent scrutiny to ensure correct procedures in crime recording are being followed.

Across the State as a whole over the 24 months to September 2010, less than two per cent of all crimes reported to NSW Police were rejected by them.

The number of crime incidents reported to NSW Police that were 'rejected' fell by 5.3 per cent in the 12 months to September 2010 compared with the 12 months to September 2009, from 13,235 incidents to 12,533 incidents.

The fall in rejected crime incidents was particularly notable for the offence of non-domestic assault with 12 Local Area Commands (LACs) recording a downward trend:

  • Newcastle (down 66.9%; from 166 to 55 incidents)
  • Sutherland (down 63.2%; from 57 to 21 incidents)
  • Barrier (down 51.1%; from 47 to 23 incidents)
  • Surry Hills (down 46.3%; from 54 to 29 incidents)
  • Canobolas (down 43.2%; from 44 to 25 incidents)
  • Orana (down 40.9%; from 44 to 26 incidents)
  • Penrith (down 37.0%; from 54 to 34 incidents)
  • Oxley (down 35.5%; from 31 to 20 incidents)
  • Flemington (down 34.4%; from 32 to 21 incidents)
  • Manning-Great Lakes (down 33.3%; from 33 to 22 incidents)
  • Coffs-Clarence (down 27.4%; from 62 to 45 incidents)
  • Eastern Beaches (down 25.6%; from 39 to 29 incidents)

Significant upward trends in the percentage of rejected offences were recorded in two categories of crime (motor vehicle theft and fraud). However the increases were too small to have affected the state crime trends and the rejected rates of crime for these offences remained below five per cent.

The one area of concern noted by the Bureau was an increase in rejected sexual assault incidents in Bankstown LAC from 11 per cent to 33 per cent. The Bureau's analysis suggested that up to half of these incidents may have been rejected in error.

It recommended that the NSW Police Force Crime Recording Standard include more complex examples of situations in which a crime should and should not be rejected.

Commenting on the findings, the Director of the Bureau, Dr Don Weatherburn, said that the results were extremely encouraging and the Bureau would be publishing all future audits of police crime statistics on its website.

"The openness and transparency of NSW Police Force in relation to crime recording stands in marked contrast to the situation in other parts of Australia such as Victoria, where there is limited access to crime data and there is no independent scrutiny of crime recording" he said.

Further enquiries: Dr Don Weatherburn. Ph. 9231-9190