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Levels of Recorded Crime Fall in Scotland

Scotland’s Chief Statistician has recently published details on levels of recorded crime in Scotland for the year 2015-16.

According to the figures, there was a 4% fall in the number of crimes recorded by the police in Scotland, from 256,350 in 2014-15 to 246,243 in 2015-16. This is apparently the lowest level of recorded crime since 1974.

Key Statistics

Other key statistics revealed in the report include:

  • The number of Non-sexual crimes of violence recorded by the police increased by 7% from 6,357 in 2014-15 to 6,775 in 2015-16. The recording of these crimes is at the second lowest level seen since 1974.
  • Sexual crimes have increased by 7% from 9,557 in 2014-15 to 10,273 in 2015-16. The recording of these crimes has been on an upward trend since 2008-09.
  • Crimes of dishonesty (for example theft, shoplifting and housebreaking) decreased by 9% from 126,857 in 2014-15 to 115,789 in 2015-16. The number of Crimes of dishonesty peaked in 1991 and has been on a downward trend ever since.
  • Recorded crimes of Fire-raising, vandalism etc. increased by 4% from 52,091 in 2014-15 to 54,226 in 2015-16. These crimes are at their second lowest level since they peaked in 2006-07.
  • Other recorded crimes, including Drugs crimes and Crimes against public justice, decreased by 4% between 2014-15 and 2015-16, from 61,488 to 59,180.

Crimes and Offences

The statistical release also included information on crimes and offences cleared up by the police in 2015-16. It shows that the clear up rate for all recorded crimes increased by 1.2 percentage points, to 51.6%. The clear up rate has apparently followed a generally upward trend over the ten-year period from 2006-07 to 2015-16.

The report provides a definition of the terms ‘crimes’ and ‘offences’ for the purposes of the report.

It explains that ‘crime’ is generally used for the more serious criminal acts; the less serious are termed ‘offences’, although the term ‘offence’ may also be used in relation to serious breaches of criminal law. The distinction is made only for working purposes and the ‘seriousness’ of the offence is generally related to the maximum sentence that can be imposed.

Scottish Government’s Comment

“I am very pleased that Scotland now has the lowest rate of recorded crime in 42 years, including reductions in drug crime, theft and handling offensive weapons over the last year,” said Cabinet Secretary for Justice Michael Matheson, commenting on the figures.

“While higher levels of recorded sexual crime are broadly in line with UK trends, include a significant number of historical cases and may reflect greater willingness by victims to come forward, such incidents are completely unacceptable,” he added. “This is why we have taken tough action to ensure perpetrators are brought to justice.”

“Today’s report also indicates that female victims of common assault were far more likely than men to be assaulted by a partner or ex-partner – underlining why the Scottish Government has committed an additional £20 million over three years to tackle violence against women, alongside our plan to strengthen legislation against all forms of domestic abuse,” he concluded.

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