Recorded Crime in Scotland, 2013-14

Recorded Crime in Scotland, 2013-14 Statistical bulletin

Recorded Crime in Scotland, 2013-14

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 1 April 2013. The Police Service of Scotland is now responsible for operational policing in Scotland and will be held to account by the Scottish Police Authority. The statistics set out in this bulletin cover the year immediately following the establishment of the Police Service of Scotland (referred to throughout this report as Police Scotland).

This bulletin presents statistics on crimes and offences recorded and cleared up by the police in 2013-14. Statistics on crimes and offences recorded by the police provide a measure of the volume of criminal activity with which the police are faced. Crimes recorded by the police do not of course reveal the incidence of all crime committed since not all crimes are reported to the police. Clear up rates measure the percentage of recorded crimes that have been cleared up. For a definition of crimes recorded and clear up rates, refer to Annex 1.


Crimes recorded by the police in Scotland decreased by 1%, from 273,053 in 2012-13 to 270,397 in 2013-14. Recorded crime is now at the lowest level since 1974.

  • The number of Non-sexual crimes of violence recorded by the police decreased by 10% from 7,530 in 2012-13 to a total of 6,785 in 2013-14.
  • The number of Sexual crimes increased by 12% from 7,693 in 2012-13 to 8,604 in 2013-14.
  • The number of Crimes of dishonesty increased by 1% from 135,899 in 2012-13 to stand at 137,324 crimes in 2013-14. The number of Crimes of dishonesty peaked in 1991 and has been on a downwards trend ever since.
  • Recorded crimes of Fire-raising, vandalism etc. decreased by 9% from 59,479 in 2012-13 to 54,418 in 2013-14. These crimes peaked in 2006-07 and have been decreasing sharply since then.
  • The number of Other crimes increased by 1% between 2012-13 and 2013-14 from 62,452 to 63,266. This increase has been driven by a 3% increase in drugs crimes, specifically possession of drugs.
  • The number of Miscellaneous offences increased by 2% from 203,063 in 2012‑13 to 207,190 in 2013-14.
  • In 2013-14, the police recorded 501,281 offences. Due to a number of changes in the way Motor vehicle offences have been submitted, it is not possible to compare 2013-14 data with that for previous years. See Annex 2 for further details on these changes.

The clear up rate for all recorded crimes increased by one percentage point, to 52%. This is the highest clear up rate recorded since 1976, the first year for which comparable clear up rates are available.

  • The clear up rate for Non-sexual crimes of violence increased by 3 percentage points from 79% in 2012-13 to 82% in 2013-14, continuing a long term trend
  • The clear up rate for Sexual crimes increased by 8 percentage points from 68% in 2012-13 to 76% in 2013-14, a return to levels seen ten years ago.
  • The clear up rates for Crimes of dishonesty (37%) and for Fire‑raising, vandalism etc. (25%) decreased by 1 and 2 percentage points respectively The rates for these crime groups have remained broadly consistent over the last ten years.
  • The clear up rate for Other crimes has remained at 98%, the same rate as in 2012-13. This is broadly consistent over the last ten years.


The statistics set out in this bulletin cover the year immediately following the establishment of Police Scotland. and as such, it is the first year for which data has been extracted using the unified Scottish Operational Management Information System (ScOMIS) implemented on 1 April 2013 which collates data from the eight legacy police force systems, and was implemented on 1 April 2013

In order to assess the comparability of data extracted from ScOMIS with the data published in previous statistical bulletins, an extensive data quality exercise has been carried out for the five year period 2008-09 to 2012-13. The Technical Report produced detailing this quality assurance work is available via the following link:

Following the analysis carried out by the Scottish Government to produce the Technical Report, it was found that there were no issues regarding comparability for recorded crime (Groups 1 to 5). However, it was found that a number of offence codes (in Groups 6 and 7), are non-comparable for the full ten years covered by the bulletin.

For Group 6, Miscellaneous offence, all data are fully comparable from 2008-09 onwards. However, two offences are non-comparable prior to 2008-09: Disorderly on licensed premises (within the Drunkenness and other disorderly conduct category) and Control of Pollution (within the Other miscellaneous offences category).

Therefore, comparisons for Drunkenness and other disorderly conduct and Other miscellaneous offences categories in Group 6 should also only be made for 2008-09 onwards. The comparability of the remaining three categories in Group 6: Common assault; Breach of the peace etc. and Urinating etc. are not affected.

This means that, overall comparisons for Group 6 should only be made for 2008-09 onwards.

Due to the standardisation of reporting practices following the establishment of Police Scotland, there are greater comparability issues for Group 7, Motor vehicle offence. There are no comparability issues for two of the categories of in Group 7: Dangerous and careless driving and Driving under the influence.

However, Seat belt offences and Mobile phone offences are comparable back to 2008‑09. For the other categories in Group 7 comparisons are not currently possible with previous years.

The Scottish Government aim to rectify these comparability issues as soon as we can.

More detailed information about these comparability issues can be found in Annex 2.

HMICS Crime Audit 2014

On 12 November 2014, Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland (HMICS) published Crime Audit 2014

This audit, the largest into crime recording undertaken by HMICS, examined records in six categories, four of which were related to specific crime types. It audited incidents reported between 1 April 2013 and 30 June 2014, and was the first crime audit in which a timeliness test was applied. This audit found no systemic data quality issues around the recording of crimes and offences.

One of the key findings from the report was that 'the quality of most incident and crime recording decisions by Police Scotland is good. 92% of incidents were closed correctly[1] and 94% of crime was counted and classified correctly'.

The findings from this detailed audit by HMICS provide users with the information on which to have confidence in the quality of crime statistics in Scotland.

Further details from this audit in relation to specific crime types and divisional information are provided within the relevant sections of this bulletin as well as in Annex 4.

UK Statistics Authority Assessment

The UK Statistics Authority (UKSA) has recently undertaken an assessment of Recorded Crime in Scotland statistics. The UKSA published its assessment report on Recorded Crime in Scotland on 31 July 2014. The report states that UKSA "cannot at present confer National Statistics status on these statistics", whilst also recognising that the UKSA "have been impressed with features of the institutional framework in Scotland" and noting that "Police Scotland is surrounded by a strong framework of inspection and regulation, including a National Crime Registrar, the Scottish Police Authority, and HMICS". As a result of this, the Recorded Crime in Scotland, 2013-14 statistical bulletin has been published as Official Statistics.

Each of the UKSA assessment reports point to improvements statistics producers can make. The Scottish Government are actioning these requirements. The full assessment report can be accessed here:

The Scottish Government is undertaking a range of actions which have the overarching aim of improving the information being provided to users, to aid their understanding and interpretation of the statistics, including the strengths and limitations of the statistics and how they can use the statistics. The Scottish Government has provided more details on the quality assurance processes as well as the quality of the data, and has taken account of the results of audits by HMICS, to demonstrate how it assures itself of the quality of recorded crime statistics. It has also provided users with an assessment of any risk and potential sources of error associated with the use of the underlying administrative data source.

The Scottish Government has produced a User Guide to Recorded Crime Statistics in Scotland as part of a suite of documents, alongside the Framework of Assurance and the Recorded Crime: Comparability of Police Scotland and Legacy Force Data report. These accompanying documents are intended to support and inform users about police recorded crime statistics in Scotland.


In addition to the information on police recorded crime, crime in Scotland is also measured by the Scottish Crime and Justice Survey (SCJS), a national household survey with adults (aged 16 and over) which asks respondents about their experiences of crime. This bulletin uses data since 2008-09[2] to bring together the two complementary sources, police recorded crime and the SCJS, to present a fuller, more comprehensive picture of crime in Scotland[3]

There were 815,000 incidents of crime against adults in Scotland in 2012-13, 22% lower than reported in the 2008-09 survey. The survey estimates that, in 2012-13, around one in six (16.9%) adults aged 16 or over were the victim of at least one crime.

  • Survey estimates of the overall level of comparable crime have fallen in line with similar reductions in the overall level of comparable recorded crime, between 2008-09 to 2012‑13, by 28% and 33% respectively.

It is estimated that around 15% of adults in Scotland were a victim of property crime in 2012-13.

  • Property crime measured in the SCJS involves theft or damage to personal or household property (including vehicles). In 2012-13, approximately 579,000 crimes (71% of all SCJS crime) fell into this category.
  • Between 2008-09 and 2012-13, there was a statistically significant decrease of 21% in property crime captured by the SCJS, and a statistically significant decrease of 12% between 2010-11 and 2012-13.
  • In 2012-13, vandalism accounted for 27% of property crime, followed by other household theft (including bicycle theft, 21%), personal theft (excluding robbery, 13%), all motor vehicle theft related incidents (6%) and housebreaking (4%).

It is estimated that around 3% of adults in Scotland were a victim of violent crime in 2012‑13.

  • Violent crime in the SCJS includes attempted assault, serious assault, minor assault and robbery. Of the 815,000 crimes measured by the SCJS in 2012‑13, 236,000 (29%) were violent crimes.
  • Between the 2011‑12 and the 2012-13 SCJS, the change in estimated violent crime was not statistically significant. However, the cumulative effect of changes since 2008‑09 is statistically significant, showing a 25% decrease in violent crimes.
  • In 2012‑13, minor assaults made up the majority of SCJS violent crime (23%), followed by attempted assault (3%), serious assault (2%) and robbery (1%).

Presentation of Scottish Crime and Justice Survey information.

Where relevant, subsequent findings from the latest, 2012-13, Scottish Crime and Justice Survey SCJS are presented in this bulletin in a blue box. Where comparisons are made between SCJS and police recorded crime these are mostly made since 2008-09, following changes to the current SCJS survey design and the increased sample size.


Email: Jan Young

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