Recorded crime in Scotland, 2012-13


Scotland’s Chief Statistician today published Recorded Crime in Scotland, 2012-13. The publication presents statistics on crimes and offences recorded and cleared up by the eight Scottish police forces in 2012-13.
The figures show that the total number of crimes recorded by the police decreased by 13% between 2011-12 and 2012-13.  In 2012-13, the Scottish police recorded 273,053 crimes, 41,135 fewer crimes than in 2011-12.

The main findings are:

  • The number of Non-sexual crimes of violence recorded by the police decreased by 21% between 2011-12 and 2012-13, to a total of 7,530.
  • The number of Sexual offences increased by 5%, from 7,361 in 2011-12 to 7,693, in 2012-13.
  • The number of Crimes of dishonesty decreased by 12% to stand at 135,899 crimes, in 2012-13. 
  • Recorded crimes of Fire-raising, vandalism etc. decreased by 21% to total 59,479, in 2012-13.
  • Other recorded crimes (including Drug crimes and Crimes against public justice) decreased by 8% to total 62,452, in 2012-13.
  • The number of crimes of Handling an offensive weapon decreased from 5,631 in 2011-12 to 4,015 in 2012-13, a decrease of 29%.
  • In 2012-13, the police recorded 543,768 offences (which includes miscellaneous offences and motor vehicle offences), an increase of less than 1% from the number of offences recorded in 2011-12.
  • The clear-up rate for all recorded crimes in 2012-13 was 51%. This follows a four year period in which the clear up rate remained constant at 49%.
  • Clear up rates for all crime/offence groups increased in 2012-13 with the exception of Other crimes where the clear up remained constant at 98%. The clear up rate for Non--sexual crimes of violence increased by 4 percentage points from 75% in 2011-12 to 79% in 2012-13. In 2012-13, the clear up rates for Fire-raising, vandalism etc. (27%) and Miscellaneous offences (86%) each increased by 2 percentage points. The clear up rates for Sexual offences (68%) and Crimes of dishonesty (38%) each increased by 1 percentage point in 2012-13.
  • The Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009 came into force on 1 December 2010. The Act updated previous law in Scotland surrounding rape and other sexual offences, particularly the gender specific nature of the common law offence of rape.  The resulting changes have affected the Recorded Crime statistics in terms of classification of offences and the number of offences recorded.
  • The new legislation applies to offences committed from 1 December 2010. Any offences committed prior to this date are recorded using the previous legislation. Any Sexual offence which occurred prior to 1 December 2010 is recorded in line with the appropriate legislation in place at that time. If the conduct occurred both prior to and after 1 December 2010 the appropriate offences under the old and new legislation are recorded. Caution should therefore be taken when comparing Sexual offences with previous years.


1. Recorded Crime in Scotland 2012-13

2. Contraventions of Scottish criminal law are divided for statistical purposes into crimes and offences. “Crime" is generally used for the more serious criminal acts; the less serious termed "offences", although the term "offence" may also be used in relation to serious breaches of criminal law. The distinction is made only for working purposes and the "seriousness" of the offence is generally related to the maximum sentence that can be imposed.

3. For more information on the impact of the Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009, please see Note 3.7 in the bulletin:

4. The statistics set out in the statistical bulletin are for the year immediately preceding the establishment of the Police Service of Scotland. Information on Police Reform and the Police and Fire Reform (Scotland) Act 2012, as well as the Police Service of Scotland, is available via the following links.

Police Reform:

Police Service of Scotland:

5. Further information on Crime and Justice statistics within Scotland can be accessed at:

6. Official statistics are produced by professionally independent statistical staff – more information on the standards of official statistics in Scotland can be accessed at: