Recorded Crime in Scotland: 2021-2022

A National Statistics Publication for Scotland.

Scotland’s Chief Statistician today released Recorded Crime in Scotland, 2021-22.

Between 2020-21 and 2021-22:

Crimes recorded by the police in Scotland decreased by 4%, from 299,452 to 286,464. This fall was driven by an 81% reduction in crimes recorded under Coronavirus related legislation (from 20,976 to 3,913). All other crimes collectively increased by 1%. The recording of crime is at the lowest level seen since 1974.

Non-sexual crimes of violence increased by 12%, from 61,913 to 69,286. This was driven by a rise in Common assault (also up 12%), which makes up the clear majority (84%) of all Non-sexual crimes of violence recorded in 2021-22.

Sexual crimes increased by 15%, from 13,131 to 15,049. These crimes are now at the highest level seen since 1971, the first year for which comparable groups are available.

Crimes of dishonesty increased by 4%, from 89,731 to 92,873. The recording of these crimes is at the second lowest level seen since 1971.

Damage and reckless behaviour crimes increased by 3%, from 42,964 to 44,284. The recording of these crimes is at the second lowest level seen since 1976.

Crimes against society decreased by 14% from 70,737 to 61,059. Most of these crimes relate to drug possession, crimes against public justice or handling offensive weapons.

Police recorded cyber-crime in Scotland:

This bulletin also includes an estimate of how many cyber-crimes (i.e. crimes committed using the internet) were recorded in Scotland during 2021-22.

In 2021-22, an estimated 14,280 cyber-crimes were recorded by the police in Scotland. This is similar to the estimated 14,860 cyber-crimes recorded in 2020-21, but a large increase compared to the estimated 7,710 cyber-crimes recorded in 2019-20. Part of this increase since 2019-20 may be due to the significant impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, including behavioural changes, such as increased online shopping.

We estimate that cyber-crimes accounted for over one-in-four Sexual crimes (28%) in 2021-22 and around one-in-ten Crimes of dishonesty (9%).

Official Statistics on Clear up rates:

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 2021-22.

In 2021-22 the clear up rate was 54.0%, down from 59.3% in 2020-21, and similar to 54.9% in 2019-20. The increase in 2020-21 likely reflected the impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on the types of crime recorded, with the volume of those crimes that have relatively lower clear up rates falling more sharply than those with relatively higher clear up rates.

The fall back to 54.0% in 2021-22 reflects a partial return to the volume of different crime types recorded in the year prior to the pandemic (2019-20), albeit clear up rates have still fallen for each of the individual crime groups. This included Non-sexual crimes of violence (down from 72.1% to 67.1%), Sexual crimes (58.4% to 53.5%) and Crimes of dishonesty (37.9% to 31.6%). 


  1. The full statistical publication can be accessed at:
  1. This bulletin is the first edition to present crime statistics using the new set of crime and offence groups approved by the Scottish Crime Recording Board, following a public consultation of users. Responses to this consultation were published in March 2022 alongside a report outlining a package of changes to the production of Scotland’s recorded crime statistics. The changes include the introduction of a new set of crime and offence groups and categories, as well as improvements to the format and design of this annual bulletin. The largest change is the transfer of Common assault and Stalking from the Miscellaneous offences group to the Non-sexual crimes of violence group, and by extension the recorded crime total for Scotland. To maintain time series analysis, all data has been back-revised.
  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 statistical reporting 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 at: Crime and justice statistics - (
  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 at: Statistics and research - (




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