Violent crimes involving young men in Scotland have dropped sharply

Violent crime in Scotland has fallen
Violent crime in Scotland has fallen
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The number of serious assaults and attempted murders in Scotland has fallen by over a third in a decade driven by decreasing levels of violence among young men in Glasgow.

Analysis of police statistics carried out by the Scottish Government found the reduction was mainly due to fewer young men attacking each other in the west of the country.

There were 4,189 serious assaults and attempted murders recorded in 2017/18, a fall of 35 per cent from 2008/9.

The reduction of cases in and around Glasgow accounted for 89 per cent of the total decrease.

While levels of violent crime have been falling globally since the early 1990s, the reduction in Glasgow, once the murder capital of western Europe, has been dramatic.

Much of the credit has gone to the Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) set up by Strathclyde Police in 2005, which pioneered a public health approach to gang violence.

Analysis published yesterday by the Scottish Government said serious assaults are now less likely to involve a weapon, although they still account for more than half of cases.

The average age of victims is now 31, compared to 27 in 2008/9, but while the total number of serious assaults on men fell, there was “little change” in the number of female victims, who are most likely to be attacked by a partner/ex-partner or relative. Alcohol continued to be a factor in almost two-thirds of serious assaults.

Justice secretary Humza Yousaf said: “This research highlights the positive impact of our investment in early intervention in reducing violent crime and saving lives, particularly among young men in the west of Scotland who historically have been at the highest risk of falling victim to violence.

“Despite this progress, we are working closely with police and others to tackle violence wherever it persists, and that includes keeping women and girls equally safe. We have strengthened the law, giving police, prosecutors and the courts greater powers to tackle various forms of domestic abuse, while investing in preventative projects, including in schools and other education institutions, to promote positive relationships among young people.

“There is absolutely no room for complacency and we continue to invest in Police Scotland, the Scottish Violence Reduction Unit and other prevention initiatives.”

Despite an overall fall across the country, violent crime remains stubbornly entrenched in the most deprived areas.

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

Meanwhile, the most recent Police Scotland figures showed an increase in some forms of violent crime over the past 12 months.

Niven Rennie, director of VRU, said: “While we have seen things getting better across the country, not everywhere and every person has benefited equally. Scotland has shown that violence is preventable so we know that change is possible. We must focus relentlessly on the causes of violence.”