Figures show fall in recorded crime in Scotland

Police officers on a Scottish street
Image caption Crime in Scotland has fallen

Recorded crime has fallen in the past year, according to figures published by Police Scotland.

In the year to the end of March, the total number of crimes reported to police dropped by 3.2%.

There were 49 murders - down six on the previous 12 months, to the lowest figure recorded using modern methods.

But violent crime rose slightly and sexual crimes also increased - although police said many of these offences were historical.

The latest figures showed that there were 246,243 recorded crimes in Scotland during the year, with 127,126 crimes detected. The detection rate has risen from 50.6% to 51.6%.

Reductions in crimes of dishonesty accounted for a significant part of the overall fall, with drops in housebreaking, motor vehicle crime and thefts.

The figures showed that:

  • Crimes of violence rose by 5.3% to 6,775
  • Sexual crime increased by 6.2% to 10,273
  • Dishonesty was down by 7.8% to 115,789
  • Fire-raising, malicious mischief, etc were up 4.4% to 54,226
  • Other crimes were down 2.4% to 59,180.

Deputy Chief Constable Iain Livingstone said police had committed "significant resources" to the investigation of historical cases of sexual abuse, domestic abuse and rape.

He added: "The overall reduction in recorded crime is to be welcomed - it means fewer victims of crime in our communities.

"There were fewer than 50 murders last year across the whole of the country, with major investigation teams working closely with local policing officers to detect those crimes and manage the impact in communities. The loss of any life is a tragedy and we will continue to do all we can to reduce violent crime."

'Early intervention'

The recorded crime statistics are published on a quarterly basis, with the latest figures covering the period between January and March this year.

They provide a snapshot of recorded crime over the full year from April 2015.

The Scottish government welcomed "the indication that total crime recorded by the police continues to fall".

A spokesman added: "We are committed to tackling all forms of violence across Scotland and we recognise that violence is a complex issue.

"That's why, in addition to enforcement, our focus is on prevention and early intervention, on tackling the causes not just the symptoms and since 2006-07, we have provided significant investment in violence reduction programmes including over £7m since 2008 in the National Violence Reduction Unit."

'Unacceptable levels'

The Scottish Conservatives said there were a number of areas of concern within the statistics, with increases in attempted murder and assault with intent to rape.

The party's justice spokesman Douglas Ross said: "Any drop in overall crime has to be welcomed but the SNP shouldn't get too excited about patting itself on the back.

"Crimes of violence and sex crimes are all up while areas which the Scottish government is meant to be targeting like knife-possession and fraud are also on the rise.

Labour's justice spokeswoman, Claire Baker, said: "Whilst an overall reduction in crime is to be welcomed, it is important to look behind the headlines.

"It's concerning therefore, to see the first rise in violent crime in five years and a further increase in sexual crimes."

Greens justice spokesman John Finnie said: "There are still unacceptable levels of violence in our communities and a further 5% increase in crimes of violence is worrying."

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