Homicide in Scotland 2020-2021: statistics

Statistical bulletin on crimes of homicide recorded by the police in Scotland in 2020-2021.

This document is part of a collection


This bulletin includes all crimes of Murder and Culpable homicide (common law), with these two crimes collectively referred to as homicide throughout the bulletin. The associated tables referenced throughout this bulletin can be downloaded from the Scottish Government website.

A glossary in the annex provides a full list of key variables used throughout this bulletin and what they mean.

The statistics on homicides are used alongside a range of other information to inform the Scottish Government’s Justice In Scotland: Vision and Priorities. These statistics are also used by a wide range of stakeholders to monitor trends, for policy research and development, and for research purposes. The Homicide in Scotland statistical bulletin forms part of a series of bulletins produced by the Scottish Government on the criminal justice system, which can be found at: https://www.gov.scot/collections/crime-and-justice-statistics/.

This bulletin excludes cases involving death by dangerous/careless driving, illegal driving resulting in a fatal accident and corporate homicide. The Scottish Government also publishes Recorded Crime in Scotland, which includes data on the wider homicide etc. category. The 2020-21 edition can be accessed at: https://www.gov.scot/publications/recorded-crime-scotland-2020-2021/.

The data in this bulletin are collected separately from the data included in the Recorded Crime in Scotland bulletin. For the crimes of murder and culpable homicide, data are extracted from police recording systems at a different time point and so there may be discrepancies in the information presented here and the Recorded Crime in Scotland bulletin. In this bulletin homicide cases are included against the year in which the crime that led to the homicide is first recorded by the police. This is not necessarily the year in which the victim dies (and hence is recorded as a homicide), the year in which the accused is brought to trial for the crime, or the year in which the case is finally disposed of by the courts.

A Data Quality Statement is available at the end of this document. This provides further information on the production of these statistics, the quality assurance undertaken and our approach to revisions.

Two national lockdowns and other restrictions on movement and gatherings due to the COVID-19 pandemic have been in effect through the 2020-21 recording year. Whilst this may have had an impact on the statistics presented in this bulletin, some caution is advised in assessing this, as the volume of cases recorded in 2020-21 is not substantially different to some earlier years (such as 59 in 2017-18).


Email: Justice_Analysts@gov.scot

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