Non-sexual crimes of violence figures: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002

Information requested

"For the calculation of non-sexual crimes of violence as published in the Recorded Crime in Scotland statistics, please list all categories of crimes that make up the non-sexual crimes of violence including a full breakdown of the crimes included under ‘other violence’. Please list all these crimes and the number of times they were committed in every single year since 1971 and list all years where changes took place in what crimes were included under the banner of ‘non-sexual crimes of violence".


I attach a copy of most of the information you requested. The accompanying spreadsheet provides a data table which presents all categories of crime that make up the crime group Non-sexual crimes of violence from the Police Recorded Crime in Scotland National Statistics.

A count of crimes is provided for every year since 1971. The one exception is 1975, where we do not hold a full 12-months’ worth of data for each crime category, due to the re-organisation of local government boundaries (as a result of the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973). As such, only a total for Non-sexual crimes of violence is available for this year.

A list is provided below of changes made to the crime categories that make up the Non-sexual crimes of violence group. Many of these changes reflect the enactment of new legislation passed by either the Scottish or UK Parliaments, which can for example create new criminal offences or amend the existing approach to recording some types of criminal activity. Whilst we cannot categorically say there were no significant changes to the types of crime that made up the Non-sexual crimes of violence group over 1971 to 1991, we are not aware of any amendments nor do we hold any further information for this period.

Decisions on the counting and classification of crime within the recorded crime National Statistics are a matter for independent statisticians (working to the Code of Practice for Official Statistics) and the Scottish Crime Recording Board. Formed in 2015, the Board’s objective is to ensure the production of recorded crime statistics is accurate and objective, taking into account the needs of both users and providers. Within each year's National Statistics bulletin, statisticians will always make users aware of any legislative or other changes to the production of these statistics that have an impact on their comparability over time. For example in the 2019-20 release we highlighted to users that 1,681 new crimes had been recorded under the Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Act 2018, following it's enactment on 1 April 2019 and that all other non-sexual crimes of violence collectively decreased by 5%.

Changes from 1992 to the present are provided below:

New category: Death by careless driving when under influence drink or drug.
This was introduced with the Road Traffic Act 1991 (Section 3A). No cases were recorded in 2020-21.

New category: Chemical weapon offence.
This was introduced as a result of the Chemical Weapons Act 1996. No cases were recorded in 2020-21.

New category: Female genital mutilation.
This was introduced as a result of the Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation (Scotland) Act 2005, and the requirement to identify these crimes separately. No cases were recorded in 2020-21.

New categories: Causing death by careless driving, Illegal driver involved in fatal accident.
These were introduced as a result of the Road Safety Act 2006 and the requirement to identify these crimes separately. There were 11 and 2 crimes recorded respectively under these categories in 2020-21.

New category: Corporate homicide.
This was introduced as a result of the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007. There were 3 crimes recorded under this category in 2020-21.

New category: Causing injury etc. by culpable and reckless conduct.
This was introduced within the Attempted murder and serious assault category to identify these crimes separately. Previously such crimes were included in the Fire-raising, vandalism etc. crime group under the crime code for Culpable and reckless conduct. There were 39 crimes recorded under this category in 2020-21.

New category: Illegal driver, disqualified/unlicensed etc. causing serious injury.
This was introduced within the Other violence category as a result of new legislation, and the requirement to identify these crimes separately. There were 7 crimes recorded under this category in 2020-21.

New category: Forced marriage.
This was introduced as a result of the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 and the requirement to identify these crimes separately. No cases were recorded in 2020-21.

New categories: Slavery or forced labour, Human organ offences.
These were introduced as a result of the Human Trafficking and Exploitation (Scotland) Act 2015, which came into force on 31 May 2016. There were 92 crimes recorded under the Slavery or forced labour category in 2020-21. No cases were recorded under the Human organ offences in 2020-21.

Removal of category: Offences relating to serious organised crime.
These used to sit within the Non-sexual crimes of violence group, from 2010-11, as a result of the Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2010. However these were transferred to the crime group Other crimes from 2016-17. The Board’s decision to do this was based on the fact that these are not technically violent crimes, and any associated violent crime related to an incident of serious organised crime would already be counted within Non-sexual crimes of violence. Data was back revised, therefore this category no longer appears in the time series for the crime group Non-sexual crimes of violence.

Amended category: Ill treatment of mental patients changed to Ill treatment and neglect of mental patients and vulnerable adults.
This category was expanded to include crimes under Section 83 of the Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act 2000. This covered the ill treatment and wilful neglect by any person exercising powers under this Act relating to the personal welfare of an adult, to ill-treat or wilfully neglect that adult (prior to this point these were previously recorded within the Miscellaneous offences group). Figures have been higher for this category following the change, averaging 48 crimes a year over 2017-18 to 2020-21, compared to around 13 a year for the four years before the change (2013-14 to 2016-17).

New category: Domestic Abuse of female, Domestic Abuse of male.
These were introduced as a result of the Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Act 2018, which came into force on 1 April 2019. The Act created a new offence of abusive behaviour as a course of conduct towards a partner or ex-partner. Prior to the 1st April 2019, any criminal act which formed part of a domestic abuse incident (such as a Common assault or Threatening or abusive behaviour) was included within the statistics under the relevant crime or offence. In general, existing common law and statutory offences will continue to be recorded where appropriate, in addition to the new crimes. There were 1,545 crimes recorded under the Domestic Abuse of female category and 96 crimes recorded under the Domestic Abuse of male category in 2020-21. Over the first two years following enactment on 1st April 2019, over 3,300 new crimes were recorded under the Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Act. During the same time period, all other non-sexual violent crimes fell 8%, from 8,008 in 2018-19 to 7,331 in 2020-21.

For additional information, the Scottish Crime Recording Board ran a consultation in 2019 on how the National Statistics in the Recorded Crime Statistics bulletin are presented. This included inviting user views on potential changes to the grouping structure. A full Summary of Responses can be accessed online. The responses were generally supportive of several proposals laid out in the consultation, including the reclassification of common assault from an offence to a crime. Following a pause in this work due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, a follow up consultation of users on a new and revised set of crime groups was carried out in Autumn 2021, where further views were sought on the potential inclusion of common assault into the Non-sexual crimes of violence group. The findings of this consultation and next steps are due to be published on 24 March 2022.

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