2.1. Statistics on racist incidents are used to inform the Scottish Government's Strategy for Justice in Scotland, National Outcome 9 - 'we live our lives safe from crime, disorder and danger' and National Outcome 11 - 'we have strong, resilient and supportive communities where people take responsibility for their own actions and how they affect others'.
2.2. These statistics are also used by a wide range of stakeholders to monitor trends, for policy research and development, and for research purposes. Further information on users and uses of the statistics is available in Annex 6 of this bulletin.
2.3. The 'Racist Incidents Recorded by the Police in Scotland' annual statistical bulletin forms part of a series of bulletins produced by the Scottish Government on the criminal justice system, which can be found at http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Statistics/Browse/Crime-Justice/Publications.
2.4. The Police Service of Scotland (referred to throughout this report as Police Scotland) is responsible for operational policing in Scotland and is held to account by the Scottish Police Authority. The Police and Fire Reform (Scotland) Act 2012 changed the policing landscape in Scotland, replacing the previous eight police forces, the Scottish Police Services Authority and the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency from 1st April 2013. The new statistics set out in this bulletin for 2013-14 cover the first year following the establishment of Police Scotland.
2.5. Incidents in this bulletin are counted against the year in which they were recorded.
2.6. The data for 2013-14 was collected and compiled at a later stage than previous years. Traditionally the data is collected and submitted to the Scottish Government in June, three months after the end of the reporting year. The 2013-14 data was compiled between March and June the following year (2015). This delay could affect the number and details of incidents as police management systems are constantly updated as new incidents may be reported and more information about existing incidents may be gathered and analysed. It is likely that this change will have a minimal impact on the majority of the data collected, however care should be taken over the following two variables highlighted below:
- Clear-up rates - As the data for 2013-14 has been collected at a later date, more time was available prior to data being extracted for police officers to investigate racist incidents than in previous years. This may account for at least part of the increase in clear-up rates compared to 2012-13 and as such caution should be taken by users when interpreting this information.
- Action taken by the police - The additional time before collection of data for 2013-14 means the action taken by the police may be more likely to be known, hence there are less 'unknowns' in the data for 2013-14, than in previous years.
2.7. Statistics in this publication can be based on the victim or the complainer of a racist incident. The victim or the complainer may not necessarily be the person at whom the racially aggravated behaviour was targeted - for example a racist incident may be reported to the police by someone who has witnessed the event, rather than the victim. As such, it should be noted that the demographic characteristics presented in this bulletin on victims/complainers (e.g. age, gender, ethnicity) will include information on some people who were not the target of the perpetrators.
Email: Alan Sloan