Over 71,000 violent crimes recorded in Scotland in decade-long high

It comes as police officer numbers in the country are at their lowest level since the creation of Police Scotland.

Conservatives slam SNP after 71,000 violent crimes recorded in Scotland for first time in decade Andranik Hakobyan via iStock

Over 71,000 incidents of violent crime have occurred in the past year – the highest figure recorded in Scotland in the last ten years.

According to official statistics, the year ending September 2023 saw a total of 71,571 violent crimes recorded.

It is the highest annual figure for violent crime from any recorded data since the year of 2011/12 – more than ten years ago.

There has also been a rise in the number of recorded crimes in the country, according to the Recorded Crime in Scotland statistics.

With 297,425 recorded crimes in the year ending September 2023, it is a rise of 3% on the previous year.

The figures come as police officer numbers in the country are at their lowest level since the creation of Police Scotland.

In October, the Scottish Police Federation (SPF) warned that cuts to police staffing levels could lead to members of the public dying.

The SNP originally set a policy of committing to a minimum of 17,234 officers, which then became Police Scotland’s chosen benchmark. The 2023/24 figure was 16,600.

Scottish Conservative justice spokesman Russell Findlay said the increase in violent crimes is “of no surprise” as Police Scotland is at “breaking point” caused by the SNP’s management of the justice system.

He said: “This worrying increase in violent crime must be seen in the context of the SNP’s weak justice agenda which abjectly fails victims.

“Police Scotland is at breaking point due to the SNP’s severe and sustained cuts to budgets. The consequential rise in violence will come as no surprise to frustrated and exhausted police officers.

“Rather than tackle violence on our streets, nationalist ministers pander to those responsible.

“Countless dangerous thugs have been spared prison due to under-25 sentencing guidelines while a new SNP law will make it even harder for sheriffs to remand criminals in custody.”

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “Scotland continues to be a safe place to live and work with historically low levels of crime.

“Increasing reports of violent crime are being driven by rises in common assaults, which make up the vast majority of these offences, along with threats and extortion, most of which occurs online.

“Homicides remain at historically very low levels and Police Scotland has a world-leading detection rate for murders since our establishment in 2013. I welcome reductions in attempted murders and serious assaults.

“We continue to work closely with the Scottish Violence Reduction Unit and others to prevent and further reduce violent crime for communities.”

Justice Secretary Angela Constance said: “Scotland continues to be a safe place to live, with recorded crime at one of the lowest levels since 1974 and down 40% since 2006-07.

“Any level of violence is unacceptable which is why through our Violence Prevention Framework we are working with partners on actions to prevent and divert people away from violence.

“We are, despite difficult circumstances caused by UK Government austerity, investing over £1.4 billion in policing in 2023-24. There are 379 more officers than in 2007 and Scotland continues to have more police officers per capita than England and Wales.”

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