Read the full report here: crime-statistics-277.pdf
Recorded crime in Scotland has reached a record 40 year low, according to official statistics published today by The Scottish Government. In Police Scotland’s first year of operation, crimes went down by one per cent to 270,397 in 2013-14 compared to 273,053 in the previous year and are now at the lowest level since 1974.
Key figures from the report include:
- Violent crime down by 10 per cent in 2013-14 (lowest level since 1974)
- The crime clear up rate is the highest since comparable records began in 1976
- Sexual crimes increased by 12 per cent last year. Police Scotland say around half this increase is through a rise in reports of historic crimes (more than 12 months after the crime occurred). The clear up rate for sexual crimes is up by eight percentage points to 76 per cent, the highest for a decade
- Crimes of handling an offensive weapon, including knives, are down by five per cent last year, a fall of 62 per cent since 2006-07 and the lowest level since 1986.
- The number of homicides (common law murder and culpable homicide) is down on the previous year from 65 to 61, half the number recorded in 2006-07. Following a decrease last year, death by dangerous or careless driving is up from 19 in 2012-13 to 37 in 2013-14
- Crimes of fire-raising and vandalism decreased by nine per cent
- Dishonesty crimes, including housebreaking, shoplifting and other thefts, are up by one per cent but have been on a downwards trend since 1991
- Police recorded 501,821 offences in 2013-14. These include common assault, breach of the peace and motor vehicle offences. Scottish Government statisticians advise that the figure of 543,768 for 2012-13 is not directly comparable due to changes in the way the data is collatedCommenting on the figures, Cabinet Secretary designate for Justice Michael Matheson said:“Recorded crime has fallen for the seventh year in a row and is now at its lowest level for 40 years, violent crime is down 10 per cent and crimes of handling an offensive weapon (including knives) have reduced by 62 per cent since 2006-07.
“These strong statistics are backed by over 1,000 extra police officers since 2007, protecting the public and keeping communities safe. It is clear that I am inheriting a strong record of achievement in justice which I am keen to build on in the weeks and months to come.
“We recognise that there is still work to do, the figures show an increase in sex crimes last year. Police Scotland have made clear that around half of the increase is due to a rise in historic reporting and may also be down to more victims of current crimes coming forward. We want victims to have confidence to report these crimes. The Scottish Government, police and prosecutors take the investigation and prosecution of these traumatic crimes extremely seriously, which is why we have strengthened the law around sex crimes by bringing in the Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009.
“We are giving £3.6 million funding to support victims of rape from 2012-15. Meanwhile the new national police service has improved investigation techniques, setting up a new National Rape Taskforce which treats rape as seriously as murder. It is also reassuring to see the best clear-up rate for these crimes in a decade.
“Crimes of death by dangerous and careless driving are also up on last year which should serve as a warning for those drivers who continue to take risks on our roads. It is unacceptable, it costs lives and will not be tolerated by our law enforcement agencies.
“Measures to lower the drink drive limit come into force next month and will help make our roads safer and save lives.”
Police Scotland Chief Constable Sir Stephen House said:
“The past two years has seen the biggest structural change to how policing is delivered in more than a generation. These figures demonstrate that our performance has remained strong throughout that period of unprecedented transition, the number of people becoming victims of crime continues to fall and that those who commit crime are more likely than ever to be caught.
“Policing in Scotland is tuned in to what the communities we serve tell us. Their greatest concerns across all 14 territorial policing divisions are what drive our priorities, combined with sharper intelligence and more effective ways of preventing crime and detecting offenders means we can be confident our communities are safer. That does not mean we can ever be complacent. We can always do more to enhance what we do and how we do it.
“We have focused on key areas like tackling anti-social behaviour, domestic abuse and rape and sexual crime. We are working hard to tackle acquisitive crime and road safety so we keep people safe on our roads.
“I am confident Police Scotland can continue to work closely with the public, our partners – locally and nationally – and criminal justice partners to drive further improvements in the safety and security of the communities in which we live.”