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Violent and sex crimes rise, despite overall fall in recorded crime in Scotland

Less crime was reported to police this year than last (Andrew Milligan/PA)
Less crime was reported to police this year than last (Andrew Milligan/PA)

New figures have shown a rise in violent and sexual crimes in Scotland – despite overall recorded crime dropping to one of the lowest levels for almost half a century.

Police in Scotland have recorded 287,374 crimes in the year ending September 2022 – with this total down by 3% from the 297,712 crimes recorded in the year ending September 2021.

The overall increase in recorded crimes was driven by a fall in Covid-related offences.

However, the figures for the most recent 12-month period showed non-sexual crimes of violence were 8% higher than they had been in the year September 2021 – rising from 64,147 to 69,353.

  • Police in Scotland recorded 287,374 crimes in the year ending September2022.
  • This included 69,353 non sexual crimes of violence.
  • There were 14,838 sexual crimes recorded over the 12-month period.
  • Crimes involving coronavirus restrictions fell from 19,861 in the year ending September 2021 to 36 in the year ending September 2022.

Sexual crimes were found to be 6% higher than they were in the year ending September 2021, increasing from 14,052 to 14,838.

There was also a 12% rise in crimes of dishonesty – with 100,246 recorded by police in the year ending September 2022, compared to 89,385 over the previous 12 months.

According to the report, from Scotland’s chief statistician, the 3% fall in recorded crime in the year ending September 2022 was “driven by a reduction in crimes recorded under coronavirus related legislation”.

Such offences went from 19,861 in the year ending September 2021 to just 36 in the following 12 months.

“All other crimes collectively increased by 3%,” the report noted.

According to the report, overall recorded crime in Scotland for the year ending September 2022 was at “one of the lowest levels for 12-month period since 1974”.

Justice Secretary Keith Brown said: “The latest figures today show Scotland continues to be a safe place to live. Recorded crime is at one of the lowest levels seen since 1974, and below pre-pandemic levels, meaning the vast majority of people do not experience crime.

“While there are fewer victims compared to 2007, we continue to strengthen support for those who experience crime and to promote work to reduce reoffending.

“This includes proposals to introduce an independent Victims’ Commissioner, making sure victims’ voices are heard and placing women and children at the heart of delivery.

“Continuing to reduce crime and the harm it causes both individuals and our society as a whole is central to our ambitious vision to reform our justice system.

“These historically low levels of crime are testimony to the continued efforts across the justice sector as we continue to deliver a safer Scotland for everyone.”

But Scottish Labour justice spokesperson Pauline McNeill said: “It is shocking to see the number of violent and sexual crimes soaring once again.

“It beggars belief that the SNP Government would try and pretend these figures are anything other than a national scandal.”

Ms McNeill added that Scottish Government plans to “cut justice budgets risk making this grim picture even worse”.

She said: “SNP need to get a grip on spiralling rates of serious crimes so our communities can truly feel safer.”

Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokesperson Liam McArthur also hit out, saying: “Violent and sexual crime levels are at some of the highest levels we have ever seen.

“The SNP can no longer get away with spinning the figures.”

Mr McArthur added: “Scottish Liberal Democrats want to see the Scottish Government invest in our justice system to deal with court backlogs, cut crime and boost public confidence.”