Recorded Crime in Scotland, 2019-20

Published: 29 Sep 2020 09:40
Part of:
Law and order

A National Statistics Publication for Scotland

Scotland’s Chief Statistician has released Recorded Crime in Scotland, 2019-20 statistics.

The main findings include:

  • between 2018-19 and 2019-20, crimes recorded by the police in Scotland remained almost unchanged, increasing by less than 1% from 246,480 to 246,516. The recording of crime remains at one of the lowest levels seen since 1974
  • the 2019-20 figures include 1,681 new crimes recorded under the Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Act 2018, following its enactment on 1 April 2019. A further 107 new crimes were recorded towards the end of 2019-20 under the Coronavirus Act 2020 and the Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions) (Scotland) Regulation 2020
  • non-sexual crimes of violence increased by 16%, from 8,008 to 9,316. This increase is due to the recording of 1,681 new crimes under the Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Act 2018, following its enactment on 1 April 2019. All other non-sexual crimes of violence collectively decreased by 5%
  • sexual crimes decreased by 1% from 13,547 to 13,364. This is the first year since 2008-09 where sexual crimes haven’t increased, though these crimes remain at the second highest level seen since 1971, the first year for which comparable groups are available
  • crimes of dishonesty decreased by 3%, from 114,506 to 111,409. The recording of these crimes is at the lowest level seen since 1971
  • fire-raising, vandalism etc. decreased by 1% from 47,997 to 47,731. The recording of these crimes is at the lowest level seen since 1976
  • other crimes increased by 3% from 62,422 to 64,589. Most of these crimes relate to drug possession, crimes against public justice or handling offensive weapons

In addition to the National Statistics on police recorded crimes and offences, this bulletin also presents Official Statistics on crimes and offences cleared up by the police in 2019-20. Between 2018-19 and 2019-20 the clear up rate increased by 0.6 percentage points (based on unrounded figures), from 51.0% to 51.5%.

Other crimes (90.0%), Non-sexual crimes of violence (71.7%) and sexual crime (56.3%) had higher clear up rates than crimes of dishonesty (37.1%) and fire-raising, vandalism etc. (26.6%).


  1. The full statistical publication can be accessed online
  1. 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.
  1. Further information on Crime and Justice statistics within Scotland can be accessed online
  1. National and Official Statistics are produced by professionally independent statistical staff – more information on the standards of Official Statistics in Scotland can be accessed online