Police Scotland record ‘shocking’ rise in number of violent crimes

Stats show murders and serious assaults all rose in one year. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
Stats show murders and serious assaults all rose in one year. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
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The number of violent crimes recorded by Police Scotland has increased by more than 10 per cent in a year, figures show.

Statistics produced by the national force show the number of murders, attempted murders and serious assaults all rose in the year to 31 March.

The overall recorded number of non-sexual crimes of violence was 8,008, up from 7,268 the previous year – an increase of 10.2 per cent.

Sexual crimes also increased, up 7.3 per cent to 13,457, but Police Scotland welcomed the figures, saying sex offences continued to be under-reported.

The force said it detected the equivalent of an extra 90 crimes every week compared to last year.

However, the Conservatives expressed concern at the rise in violent offences, with the number of attempted murders increasing by 23.5 per cent to 310.

The number of murders increased marginally from 56 to 58, while serious assaults went up 0.7 per cent to 4,050.

The total number of recorded crimes involving a bladed/pointed instrument increased 14.2 per cent to 7,140.

Deputy Chief Constable Will Kerr said: “Our officers are working hard every day and the increase in detections is testament to their commitment to keeping people safe. Reports of sexual crime continue to increase, which is to be welcomed, but we are aware that sexual crime remains under-reported.

“Any violent crime is unacceptable and these offences have a significant impact on victims, families and communities. We are working closely with our partners to better understand and prevent violent crime.

“We have also seen positive results from stop and search, indicating a growing confidence in officers’ use of the tactic, which removes more than 600 weapons from the streets every year.”

But Liam Kerr, Scottish Conservative shadow justice secretary, said: “These shocking figures expose the reality that despite the SNP’s claims, violent crime is increasing at an astonishing rate.

“The SNP must support Police Scotland to tackle the perpetrators of this violence and abandon their plans to abolish short-term sentences immediately.”

Yesterday, the Scottish Government said it planned to extend a presumption against sentences of less than three months to include sentences up to a year. However, the courts will continue to be able to opt for custodial sentences in cases where imprisonment is deemed necessary.

Figures published earlier this year showed less than 1 per cent of Scotland’s population experienced 59 per cent of all violent crime last year.

Overall crime levels have fallen by 16 per cent since 2016/17, with just 0.7 per cent of people falling victim to more than one violent crime.