Scotland crime statistics: Scottish SNP government accused of ‘insulting victims’ as ‘disturbing’ figures show 20% rise in sexual assault crime and 9% rise in violent crime

The Scottish Government’s quarterly publication Recorded Crime in Scotland showed sexual assault crimes rose by a fifth from a year ago (from 4,587 to 5,495 crimes) and non-sexual violence crimes increased increased by 9% (from 64,080 to 70,156 crimes).

But recorded crime as a whole fell to its lowest level in almost 50 years, driven by a reduction in crimes under Covid-related legislation, which fell from 20,146 to 96. All other recorded crimes have collectively increased by 2%.

Statistics covered the 12 month period to June

Crime in Scotland is at the lowest level recorded by police in a 12 month period, however, crimes of sexual assault have increased by 20% (Photo by Joe Giddens, PA Images).

Justice Secretary Keith Brown said “multiple factors” were behind the increase in sexual assault and violent crime, including “greater willingness of victims to come forward, more historical reporting and more online crimes.”

But the Scottish Tories called the rise ‘disturbing’, saying numbers had continued to ‘rise alarmingly’ under the SNP government.

Scottish Conservative President Craig Hoy said: “They are presiding over a crime wave caused by their disastrous management of the justice system, which has led to record numbers of police retirements, criminals wrongfully released and backlogs resulting in delays for victims seeking justice.

“Despite this, the SNP is ready to make matters worse by cutting the future justice budget even further.”

Pauline McNeill, Scottish Labour’s justice spokeswoman, said the ‘terrifying leap’ in violent crime called for urgent action as she accused the SNP of ‘staggering complacency’ by ‘patting each other on the back’ on numbers.

Liam McArthur MSP, spokesman for the Scottish Liberal Democrat Justice, called the figures “alarming”.

Overall, there was a 5% drop in police-recorded crime compared to the same period last year (from 300,747 to 285,974 crimes) – the lowest level in a 12-year period months since 1974.

It is forecast that Police Scotland would receive a budget cut in real terms of around £66m over the next five years.

David Hamilton, chairman of the Police Federation of Scotland, said: ‘The Scottish Government must now pause and reflect on its extraordinary decision to deprioritise policing and reverse plans to ramp up funding.

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Rapes and attempted rapes were down 1% from the previous year, but up 10% from the year ending June 2018.

The number of dishonesty crimes was also higher (up 9%) compared to the previous year, and damage and reckless behavior crimes increased slightly (by 1%).

Crimes against society decreased (by 14%), as did anti-social offenses (by 2%) and traffic offenses (by 9%).

Welcoming the overall reduction in reported crime, Mr Brown said: “The latest figures today show that recorded crime is at the lowest level since 1974, and down 43% since 2006/07.

“But there’s still a lot to do. Continuing to reduce crime and the harm it causes both to individuals and to our society as a whole is central to our ambitious vision to reform our justice system.

“The Scottish Government has made £48m available to organizations supporting victims over the next three years and has invested over £24m to target violence reduction since 2008.”