A CRIME A MINUTE
A CRIME was reported to Police Scotland every minute last year amid a sharp rise in violence and sexual offending.
More than 500,000 crimes were logged by the force in 2018-19, with sex offences at a near 50-year high.
Only about half of all crimes are solved, while the proportion of sexual crime ‘cleared up’ has plunged to a record low.
The Scottish Government classes nearly half of the reports as ‘crimes’ and the rest as ‘offences’, deemed to be more minor.
Scottish Tory justice spokesman Liam Kerr said the figures showed a ‘catastrophic failure of the SNP’s soft-touch approach to justice’. He added: ‘The artificial distinction between “crimes” and “offences” is just another way for the SNP to confuse the issue.
‘Common assaults can mean a broken nose or loss of consciousness – yet aren’t classed as “violent crime” by the SNP.’
Mr Kerr said the ‘worrying and significant rise in sexual and violent crime is compounded by falling clear-up rates, in what will be devastating news for victims’.
Government figures show ‘crimes’, including murder and rape, rose from 244,504 to 246,480 between 2017-18 and 2018-19.
But supposedly lower-level incidents including assault and breach of the peace were classed as ‘offences’.
These so-called ‘offences’ fell by 6 per cent, from 264,027 to 247,791 – meaning the total of ‘crimes’ and ‘offences’ was 494,271, or 1,354 a day, which equates to a shocking 56 an hour.
Violent crime rose by 10 per cent from 7,251 to 8,008, the highest level since 2011-12, while sex crime rose from 12,487 to 13,547, the highest number since 1971.
The number of people caught with bladed weapons rose by nearly a fifth in the past year.
Cases of handling an offensive weapon rose by 18 per cent from 3,570 to 4,216, while incidents where knives were used to commit a crime ‘against a person in a public place’ rose from 4,163 to 4,680.
Robberies soared by 16 per cent from 1,556 to 1,807, while rapes and attempted rapes rose 8 per cent from 2,255 to 2,426. The number of murders rose from 98 in 2017-18 to 102 last year.
But other Scottish Government research suggests only about 35 per cent of all crime, including 37 per cent of violent crime, is ever reported to police, meaning the figures do not give a full picture of the true extent of offending.
The clear-up rate for all crimes rose slightly from 49.5 per cent to 51 per cent, and stands at only 58.1 per cent for sex crime (down from 60 per cent in a year), and 73.3 per cent for violent crime (down from 76.1 per cent), the lowest since 2010. The clear-up rate for sexual crime overall is now at the lowest level since 1979.
Chief Constable Iain Livingstone said policing has a ‘major contribution’ to make to tackle violent crime. But he said ‘other factors’ – such as alcohol and ‘violence in the private space’ – were part of the problem and it was crucial officers were ‘enabled… to spend more time in the community’. Scottish Labour justice spokesman James Kelly said: ‘It’s time for Humza Yousaf to give our brave police officers the resources they need to fight crime and keep Scotland safe.’
Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokesman Liam McArthur said: ‘The steep rise in violent and sexual crime is extremely concerning. Thousands of families will have been left reeling from unthinkable attacks.’
Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf announced plans for major research to investigate violent crime. He said: ‘While there is less crime and fewer victims than a decade ago, the impact on victims, particularly of sexual or violent crimes, is often devastating.
‘That is why we are strengthening how Scotland’s justice system and other public services support victims, while investing in both law enforcement and crime prevention projects.’
‘Devastating news for victims’
As we’ve said on a number of occasions, SNP Ultra Soft Justice. Figures fiddled to make them look better, but not make us any safer.
Even serving Police Officers have said that they’ve downgraded crimes to offences, and changed how figures are recorded to bring down the crime stats.
The SNP are the problem, not the solution.