Scottish homicide rate falls to lowest level since records began

As Ross Hunter reported a few weeks ago via The National’s website, the homicide rate in Scotland has fallen to its lowest level since modern records began, according to Police Scotland’s own data.

The historical highest rate was recorded in the 2004-2005 period, with 137 homicides. In contrast, from June 2022 to May 2023, a total of 48 homicides were recorded, according to the latest police performance report.

It is worth noting that in the period between 2004 and 2005, according to a UN report, Scotland was described as the most violent country in the developed world.

Since the homicide investigation service was formed some ten years ago, Police Scotland’s detection rate has been extraordinarily high. During the 2022-2023 period, there was only one unsolved homicide, and it remains under investigation. Police Scotland deputy chief constable Fiona Taylor welcomed the marked statistical improvement in this area, but noted that further work was needed, as each homicide represents an individual tragedy.

The 2022-2023 police performance report underlines that Scotland is a safe place to live and work and, when a critical situation arises, Police Scotland responds with high levels of operational competence. Each murder is extremely serious, with unique circumstances and investigative challenges. Ensuring justice for families and loved ones is a basic duty for Police Scotland and very important to the “legitimacy of policing”.

The police report also notes that there was a significant reduction in the number of assaults suffered by Police Scotland officers and staff: 438 less (6.2%), with a total of 6,657.

The Scottish police management welcomed the reduction in assaults on officers and working staff, which was the lowest number since 2018-2019. They also highlighted that work would continue to be promoted as part of the Your Safety Matters programme, in order to reduce the impact of violence and abuse on police officers and staff.

Another relevant piece of information from the police document is Police Scotland’s Banking Protocol, which teaches staff working in savings institutions how to spot the signs of a customer who may have been the victim of a scam.

Statistical data indicate that, in the last year, the protocol has foiled frauds of around £3.5 million, with a total of 1,200 incidents reported.


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