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Violent and sexual crimes at highest rates since formation of Police Scotland in April 2013
There were 64 murders last year, the greatest number since the formation of Police Scotland in April 2013.
Statistics show that between 2013-14 and 2016-17 crimes with a sexual element rose from 8,604 to 10,822 while crimes of non-sexual violence increased from 6,785 to 7,164.
Despite Nationalist claims that crime is at its lowest for 42 years, detection rates for both categories are down – in the case of serious violence by eight per cent on the previous year.
Scottish Conservative justice spokesman Douglas Ross said: “It won’t ease people’s worries that the SNP continues to take a soft-touch approach.”
It won’t ease people’s worries that the SNP continues to take a soft-touch approach
Douglas Ross – Scottish Conservative justice spokesman
In the quarter to the end of March this year, the number of overall crimes fell 11.3 per cent from 269,092 to 238,651 while detection rates slipped 1.6 per cent to 50 per cent.
However, serious violence increased, with non-sexual violent crimes up by 379 on the 2013-14 figures to 7,164 in the past year. The detection rate for those crimes was 81.9 per cent in 2013-14, 84.1 per cent in 2015-16, but 77.1 per cent for the last year.
There were 8,604 sexual crimes in 2013-14, and these rose every year, reaching a new high of 10,822 – a huge jump of 25.8 per cent with a 62.3 per cent detection rate.
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Police Scotland recorded 64 murders last year
Reported rapes went from 1,690 in 2013-14 to 1,755 last year, but peaked at 1,797 in 2014-15, while knife crime was at its highest level in 2016-17, with 2,092 incidents – up from 1,951 the previous year.
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Use of all offensive weapons rose from 3,111 to 3,271 incidents year on year, but was still down on the 2013-14 figure of 3,795.
Murder spiked last year, with 64 recorded, up 30.6 per cent on the 49 the previous year, but the 2015-16 figure was unusually low. There were 56 and 55 in the force’s first two years.
Murder has the best clear-up rate, 100 per cent in the first two years and only one left unsolved in each of the two following years.
Attempted murders fell from 317 in the first year to 236 last year, but detection dipped from 95.6 per cent to 86.9 per cent between 2013 and last year.
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'Overall, violent crime is down more than 4.8 per cent on the five-year average' says Barry McEwan
Police Scotland sources are adamant the rise in crimes of a sexual nature is largely due to the number of historic offences now being reported and changes in the way victims are dealt with, encouraging more to report their ordeal.
One senior officer said: “We want all sexual crimes to be reported and robustly investigated, no matter how it reads statistically on a spreadsheet further down the line.
"The victims must be confident in coming forward that their complaint will be handled sensitively and with the utmost determination.”
Responding to the figures, Chief Superintendent Barry McEwan said: “The majority of violent crimes are common assaults. Nearly one quarter are linked to domestic incidents.
“Overall, violent crime is down more than 4.8 per cent on the five-year average, indicating a downward trend.”
A Scottish Government spokesman said of the sexual crime figures: “Statistics show 76 per cent of rape and attempted rape crimes were solved by police in 2015-16.”