About the European Sourcebook (ESB)

The European Sourcebook Group is a group of experts that produces on a regular basis the European Sourcebook of Crime and Criminal Justice Statistics.

The first European Sourcebook project started in 1996. In that year the Council of Europe established a committee to prepare a compendium of crime and criminal justice data for its member states. Information was collected from 36 European countries covering the period 1990 to 1996. It included both statistical data and information on the statistical rules and the definitions behind these figures. This resulted in the publication by the Council of Europe of the first European Sourcebook in 1999. Also a ‘Key Findings’ bulletin was published in 2000 and an issue of the European Journal on Criminal Policy and Research (Vol. 8, No. 1, 2000) was mainly devoted on some results of the Sourcebook data.

A second European Sourcebook project sponsored by the governments of Switzerland, United Kingdom and the Netherlands was completed and the findings were published in December 2003 by the Dutch WODC in their publications series (nr. 212). The publication reports on criminal justice data for 40 European countries covering the period 1995 – 2000. A special double issue of the European Journal on Criminal Policy and Research (Vol. 10, Nos. 2-3, 2004) was devoted to the results of the Sourcebook data.

In June 2006 the third edition,sponsored by France, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, was published again in the WODC publication series (nr. 241). This edition is a limited one: not all tables were updated. It covers the years 2000 – 2003 for 37 countries.

The fourth edition, covering the years 2003-2007. The fourth edition is an extended update of the third edition and covers the years 2003-2007. In-depth analyses are presented for the year 2006. The basic structure of five chapters – offences and offenders known to the police, prosecution, convictions and sentences, corrections including non-custodial sanctions and survey data – has been maintained. However, several chapters were revised and extended in various respects.

The fifth edition of the European Sourcebook of Crime and Criminal Justice Statistics will cover the years 2007 to 2011 and has been published in September 2014. It can be dowloaded from the following website.

Fifth edition

The fifth edition of the European Sourcebook of Crime and Criminal Justice Statistics cover the years 2007 to 2011. The fifth edition includes police, prosecution, conviction and correctional statistics, as well as victimization surveys. As an innovation, the revised questionnaire is available both in paper an electronic format.

According to the timetable established by the European Sourcebook Group, a pilot test of the questionnaire took place during the first half of 2012. The final version of the questionnaire was sent to the national correspondents before the end of 2012 and a conference to bring together the members of the European Sourcebook Group and the national correspondents took place in The Hague in February 2013. Data was analyzed and submitted to the usual validity and reliability checks during the year 2013, and the final publication has been published in September 2014. It can be dowloaded from the following website.