The exclusion of the under 16 age group in the survey has raised concern from both the NSPCC and several other children"tms charities, that a great deal of crime against a vulnerable group is being missed and unreported. Genn (1982) also suggests that sexual and domestic crimes are under-reported in the BCS, however new touch screen computers for such incidents may help alleviate this concern. The survey sample for the BCS is collected from the postcode address file (PAF), which is in turn drawn up from the national census. Although the census is meant to be compulsory, the numbers of uncompleted census forms are increasing. Thus not all the population eligible to be included in the BCS will be included, these discrepancies do not fall into the realms of sampling error, as the numbers involved are relatively small in comparison to the overall survey. Comparisons between the sample proportions and the census proportions are therefore seen as a valid method of testing the validity and representativeness of the BCS sampling survey. The BCS has been criticised by Genn et al
Another criticism of the BCS was argued by Hazel Genn (1988) who pointed out the deficient way the BCS records "multiple victimization"tm. She pointed out that the BCS only allows up to six separate crimes to be recorded on each survey. This meant that multiple crimes such as domestic abuse and persistent harassment could only be counted as six crimes, and the rest were put together as one crime. These disparities were first highlighted by Spark (1977) in the recording of police statistics, and point to a "dark figure"tm of crime which may in some circumstances be as much as eleven times higher than the official figures.
Another major flaw in the BCS is the categorisation of crime; a minor or petty crime is counted equally as a major crime in the final statistics. This anomaly was pointed out by (Sellin and Wolfgang 1966) who created a weighted index for crime. They argued that by counting all crime as equitable, the perception of overall crime would become distorted. The perception of crime is something that cannot be addressed in a questionnaire-based survey. The perception of crime affects more people than crime itself. The fear of crime for the most vulnerable in society can mean a dramatic loss of quality of life.
The BCS is far from a perfect research tool, it has many flaws with the collection and presentation of the collected data. It does give a more accurate representation of the total numbers of crimes being committed than police figures, however the severity of many of these crimes is open to closer scrutiny. The politicisation of the BCS has also meant that many people have lost faith in the whole survey. All parties pick and choose aspects of the survey, which suit the hot topic of the day. There seems to be no better way of collating so much data quickly than using a questionnaire based survey, it may be possible to use the internet with secure passwords, however this is open to the same bias and demand characteristics as the current survey.
The survey sample for the