Figures released by the Police Service for Scotland show that a number of worrying trends in crime are emerging across Scotland, despite an overall decrease in crimes recorded.
While Scottish ministers celebrate a 3.2% drop in recorded crime, a number of areas of concern are highlighted within the report published on 20th June [available here in full].
Last year, there was an increase in crimes of violence, from 6,434 to 6,775 – a rise of 5.3% showing an average of 18 such incidents occurring in Scotland every day.
Sex crimes last year also rose – by more than 600 to 10,273, 6.2% up.
These are the most serious crimes. Seeing them rise so markedly in Scotland, over a year, is a mater of real concern.
Other categories to experience increases were attempted murder, assault with intent to rape, shoplifting and fraud.
The number of people caught with a knife went up from 1,889 to 1,951 – up 3.3% – despite SNP promises to crack down on knife carrying and knife crime.
Scottish Government claims that crime is at a 41-year low are based on figures that do not include thousands of offences such as common assault, threatening and abusive behaviour, stalking and a range of driving offences.
All governments perform this sort of sleight of hand on uncomfortable statistics and Scotland’s is no different.
Douglas Ross MSP, Scottish Conservative shadow justice secretary, says: ‘Any drop in overall crime has to be welcomed, but the SNP shouldn’t get too excited about patting itself on the back.
‘If you scratch beneath the surface of these figures, there are some extremely worrying trends.
‘Crimes of violence and sex crimes are all up, while areas which the Scottish Government is meant to be targeting like knife-possession and fraud are also on the rise.
‘And as police officers will testify, the crimes which aren’t recorded can be just as much of a problem for communities.
‘As we’ve pointed out before, the claim that crime is at a 41-year low is also deceptive, considering those statistics don’t include offences such as stalking, common assault and driving offences.
‘Given Police Scotland is repeatedly warning about funding pressures, it’s imperative that cracking down on crime which makes life a misery for people in Scotland doesn’t slip down the agenda.’