Recorded crime in Scotland is now at its lowest level since 1974 claims Kenny MacAskill. RECORDED CRIME in Scotland has fallen to a 39 year low, according to figures released by the Scottish Government today. In the past year alone, the number of crimes has fallen by 13 per cent, a drop of just over 41,000 in 2012-13 to 273,053.
Statistics published today also show violent crime fell by 21 per cent and crimes of handling offensive weapons are at a 27-year low.
However, the number of sexual offences recorded by police went up by five per cent. The figures also show a slight rise in the number of offences, which include driving and minor alcohol offences, of less than one per cent
The clear up rate for crimes increased last year and is now at its highest since 1976.
Commenting on the figures, Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said: “Today’s statistics show that Scotland’s communities are becoming safer places to live, with recorded crime falling for the sixth year in a row to its lowest level for 39 years.
“It is particularly encouraging to see violent crime dropping by 21 per cent last year and crimes of handling an offensive weapon down by 60 per cent since 2006-07. However, make no mistake, there will be no let-up in our efforts backed by record numbers of police officers – over 1,000 extra since 2007 – who are keeping communities safe and clearing up crimes more efficiently than ever before.
“We are continuing to work tirelessly to reduce knife crime and violence in Scotland, and believe education and prevention are key to tackling the root causes of violence. That’s why we are investing in the No Knives, Better Lives initiative – now in 11 areas across Scotland - and why we work with other key partners like the Violence Reduction Unit and Medics Against Violence. Together, we are working hard to change attitudes to violence and knife crime – making it clear that it is never acceptable.
“We are also taking a robust approach to enforcement –sentences for carrying a knife in Scotland are the toughest in the UK and our prosecutors are taking a zero tolerance approach. Today’s figures show these united efforts to tackle knife crime are beginning to pay off, but there will be no complacency.
“While today’s overall statistics are encouraging, it is concerning to see that the number of sexual offences recorded by police have increased by five per cent. This may be down to increased reporting but the public should be assured that the Scottish Government, police and prosecutors take the investigation and prosecution of these traumatic crimes extremely seriously and are taking action to address them.
“At a Government level, we have strengthened the law around sex crimes by bringing in the Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009. We are also giving £3.6 million funding to support victims of rape from 2012-15. Just yesterday, I met with the Rape and Sexual Crime External Advisory Group which now operates across Police Scotland and works closely with police officers to help inform and improve rape investigations. Meanwhile, the Scottish Police Service has launched a new National Rape Taskforce to further improve the investigation of rape and other sexual crimes right across the country.”
Scotland’s Chief Statistician today published Recorded Crime in Scotland, 2012-13. The publication presents statistics on crimes and offences recorded and cleared up by the eight Scottish police forces in 2012-13.
The figures show that the total number of crimes recorded by the police decreased by 13% between 2011-12 and 2012-13. In 2012-13, the Scottish police recorded 273,053 crimes, 41,135 fewer crimes than in 2011-12.
The main findings are:
The number of Non-sexual crimes of violence recorded by the police decreased by 21% between 2011-12 and 2012-13, to a total of 7,530.
The number of Sexual offences increased by 5%, from 7,361 in 2011-12 to 7,693, in 2012-13.
The number of Crimes of dishonesty decreased by 12% to stand at 135,899 crimes, in 2012-13.
Recorded crimes of Fire-raising, vandalism etc. decreased by 21% to total 59,479, in 2012-13.
Other recorded crimes (including Drug crimes and Crimes against public justice) decreased by 8% to total 62,452, in 2012-13.
The number of crimes of Handling an offensive weapon decreased from 5,631 in 2011-12 to 4,015 in 2012-13, a decrease of 29%.
In 2012-13, the police recorded 543,768 offences (which includes miscellaneous offences and motor vehicle offences), an increase of less than 1% from the number of offences recorded in 2011-12.
The clear-up rate for all recorded crimes in 2012-13 was 51%. This follows a four year period in which the clear up rate remained constant at 49%.
Clear up rates for all crime/offence groups increased in 2012-13 with the exception of Other crimes where the clear up remained constant at 98%. The clear up rate for Non--sexual crimes of violence increased by 4 percentage points from 75% in 2011-12 to 79% in 2012-13. In 2012-13, the clear up rates for Fire-raising, vandalism etc. (27%) and Miscellaneous offences (86%) each increased by 2 percentage points. The clear up rates for Sexual offences (68%) and Crimes of dishonesty (38%) each increased by 1 percentage point in 2012-13.
The Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009 came into force on 1 December 2010. The Act updated previous law in Scotland surrounding rape and other sexual offences, particularly the gender specific nature of the common law offence of rape. The resulting changes have affected the Recorded Crime statistics in terms of classification of offences and the number of offences recorded.
The new legislation applies to offences committed from 1 December 2010. Any offences committed prior to this date are recorded using the previous legislation. Any Sexual offence which occurred prior to 1 December 2010 is recorded in line with the appropriate legislation in place at that time. If the conduct occurred both prior to and after 1 December 2010 the appropriate offences under the old and new legislation are recorded. Caution should therefore be taken when comparing Sexual offences with previous years.
2. Contraventions of Scottish criminal law are divided for statistical purposes into crimes and offences. “Crime" is generally used for the more serious criminal acts; the less serious 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.
3. For more information on the impact of the Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009, please see Note 3.7 in the bulletin:
4. The statistics set out in the statistical bulletin are for the year immediately preceding the establishment of the Police Service of Scotland. Information on Police Reform and the Police and Fire Reform (Scotland) Act 2012, as well as the Police Service of Scotland, is available via the following links.
Police Service of Scotland:
5. Further information on Crime and Justice statistics within Scotland can be accessed at:
6. Official statistics are produced by professionally independent statistical staff – more information on the standards of official statistics in Scotland can be accessed at: