Homicide in Scotland, 2020-21

A National Statistics Publication for Scotland.

Scotland’s Chief Statistician today published Homicide in Scotland, 2020-21. The publication provides information on crimes of homicide recorded by the police in Scotland in 2020-21. The main findings are:

Between 2019-20 and 2020-21, the number of homicide cases recorded by the police in Scotland decreased by 15% (or ten cases) from 65 to 55. This is the lowest number of homicide cases recorded since comparable records began in 1976.

The number of homicide cases in Scotland remained relatively stable in recent years, with between 59 and 65 cases recorded each year from 2012-13 to 2019-2020.

Over the ten year period from 2011-12 to 2020-21, the number of homicide cases in Scotland fell by 40% (36 cases) from 91 to 55.

In 2020-21, 58 victims of homicide were recorded, 12% (eight victims) fewer than the 66 victims recorded in 2019-20. Of the 58 victims, 83% (48) were male.

In 2020-21, 65 persons were accused of homicide and 92% (60) of them were male. All 55 cases of homicide recorded for 2020-21 were solved.

For each of the last ten years, the most common method of killing was with a sharp instrument. In 2020-21, a sharp instrument was the main method of killing for 59% (34) of homicide victims. 


Read the full statistical publication

The term “sharp instrument” includes knives, broken bottles, swords, sharpened screwdrivers and any other pointed or edged weapons.

Crime and Justice statistics provide further information 

National statistics are produced by professionally independent statistical staff


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