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  • Writer's pictureKenneth Gibson MSP

Recorded Crime at 42 Year Low

Total recorded crime down 4% between 2014-15 and 2015-16

Recorded crime in Scotland is at its lowest level since 1974 according to new figures released today. In total, 246,243 crimes were recorded in 2015-16, compared to 256,350 in the previous year. Key highlights include:

  • Crimes of dishonesty including theft, housebreaking and shoplifting fell from 126,857 to 115,789

  • Crimes of handling offensive weapons have fallen to their lowest level since 1984, down to 3,111 a fall of more than 70% since the SNP came to office

  • Non-sexual crimes of violence are at their second lowest level since 1974 at 6,775

  • Fire-raising, vandalism etc. increased from 52,091 to 54,226, though this remains 58% lower than in 2006-07

  • Other crimes (mostly drug related against public justice) fell from 61,488 to 59,180

  • The number of offences recorded by the police in Scotland fell from 379,498 to 339,193. These include motor vehicle offences and breach of the peace

The overall police clear-up rate increased by 1.2 percentage points to 51.6%.

Cabinet Secretary for Justice Michael Matheson said:

I am delighted 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. Scotland’s police officers and their specialist and other civilian colleagues carry out excellent work to detect, disrupt and deter criminal activities. Each of us can contribute to keeping our communities, homes and businesses safe, including by minimising opportunities for criminals.

Police continue to lead that preventative approach alongside partners in other public services and the private and third sectors – not least in addressing emerging threats online, including child sexual exploitation, radicalisation and cyber-fraud.

Since 2006-07 we have also invested more than £10.5 million in a range of violence reduction programmes during which time violent crime has more than halved (down 52%) and is at its second lowest level since 1974.

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.

Added Kenneth Gibson:

The fall of by more than half in violent crime under the SNP and the steady year on year fall in the total number of crimes across our communities coupled with an increase in the detection rate of 1.2% reflects the hard work carried out by police officers and police staff throughout the country.

Our police officers continue to work with community partners to tackle violence and address the influence that alcohol plays in many of these crimes. The recorded crime figures are an important barometer on the level of service that the public get from Police Scotland and show our country becoming safer year by year. However, they are only part of the picture.

"On a daily basis officers and staff provide help, advice and assistance on many different subjects ranging from anti-social behaviour and missing persons to traffic accidents and mental health issues. In addition, Police Scotland is addressing the demands on modern policing which will remain a focus in the months and years ahead. Meanwhile, Police Scotland continues to engage with the public to identify issues in local communities that will direct and inform the shape of future policing.”

Recorded crime in Scotland 2015/16 is at:


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