Recorded Crime in Scotland, 2005/06

Statistics on crimes and offences recorded and cleared up by the eight Scottish police forces in 2005/06

6 Scottish Crime and Victimisation Survey

6.1 The preceding sections of this bulletin described the volume and types of crime recorded and cleared up by the eight police forces in Scotland during 2005/06. The recorded crime series is generally a useful indicator of trends in recorded crime. However, not all crimes are reported to the police and the propensity of the public to report crime to the police also changes over time. Thus, statistics recorded by the police may not accurately reflect the underlying trend in all crime.

6.2 Crime surveys can be a useful source of information by providing a fuller picture of the extent of and trends in most types of household and personal victimisation. The information provided by such surveys complements the information compiled by the police forces and provides another useful indicator, as well as exploring other issues such as the impact of crime on victims, public anxieties and reactions to crime and attitudes towards the police and other parts of the criminal justice system. Fieldwork for the 2006 Scottish Crime and Victimisation Survey ( SCVS), which asks about crimes and offences experienced in 2005/06, is currently underway and results should be available in Summer 2007.

6.3 Findings from the 2004 SCVS1 are summarised in bullet form below. Further details can be found in the summary findings paper available at

  • Estimates derived from the 2004 Scottish Crime Survey suggest that around 930,000 crimes were committed against individuals and private households in Scotland between 1 April 2003 and 31 March 2004. This represents a decrease from the number of crimes captured by the Scottish Crime Survey in 2002, which stood at just over 1 million.
  • According to the survey, over 60 per cent of crimes experienced in 2003/04 were against property; motor vehicle and property vandalism accounts for two thirds of these. The remaining 40 per cent of crimes were committed against individuals. Almost one in four crimes (24%) involved violence, but most of these involved minor assaults, which are almost 10 times more prevalent than serious assaults.
  • Overall, 44 per cent of crimes captured by the survey came to the attention of the police. In about three-quarters of reported incidents, the offence was reported by the respondent or someone else in the household. Where the incident had not been reported to the police, the main reasons given were that the police would not have been able to do anything (35% of unreported incidents), the incident was too trivial (35%) or the police would not have been interested (19%).

1. This was a face-to-face survey with a national sample of 3,000. It ran alongside a larger telephone survey which was subsequently discontinued for methodological reasons.

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