Group 5 - Other Crimes
Number of Other crimes recorded in 2015-16:
Other crimes account for almost one quarter (24%) of all crimes recorded in Scotland in 2015-16. Between 2014-15 and 2015-16, the number of Other crimes recorded by the police in Scotland decreased by 4%, from 61,488 to 59,180.
Chart 15 below shows the number of Other crimes from 1971 onwards. Other crimes increased for a long period, peaking in 2006-07. Since then they have generally reduced, decreasing by 30% up to 2015-16. These crimes are now at the lowest level since 2000-01.
Chart 15: Other crimes recorded by the police, 1971 1 to 1994 then 1995‑96 to 2015-16 ( Table 10 )
1. Crimes recorded for the present crime groups are not available prior to 1971.
The national rate of recorded Other crimes decreased from 115 per 10,000 population in 2014-15 to 110 crimes per 10,000 population in 2015-16. This varied by local authority area, with the highest rate in Glasgow City (201 per 10,000 population), and the lowest in the Orkney Islands (43 per 10,000 population) ( Table 13).
Chart 16 shows the four categories within Other crimes over the last ten years, and gives an indication of the trend and scale of each category. Drugs crimes have consistently been the biggest contributor to Other crimes. In 2015-16, 60% of Other crimes were drug crimes. A further 34% were Crimes against public justice and 5% were crimes of Handling Offensive weapons.
Chart 16: Other crimes in Scotland, 2006-07 to 2015-16
Drug crimes account for 60% of Other crimes. Over the ten year period from 2006-07 to 2015-16 this crime has decreased by 16%, including a 4% decrease from 36,836 in 2014-15 to 35,479 in 2015-16. Despite some fluctuation since 2010-11, the level of these crimes has remained relatively steady over that time.
Around two thirds (22) of local authority areas recorded a decrease in this category over the ten year period. Between 2014-15 and 2015-16, one half (16) of local authorities showed a decrease.
Crimes against public justice:
Crimes against public justice account for 34% of Other Crimes and include Bail offences, Resisting arrest and Wasting police time. Over the ten year period from 2006-07 to 2015-16 this crime has decreased by 36%, including a 4% decrease from 21,100 in 2014-15 to 20,361 in 2015-16.
Over the ten year period, all but four local authorities recorded a decrease in this category. Between 2014-15 and 2015-16, over one half (17) of local authorities showed a decrease.
Handling offensive weapons:
Crimes of Handling offensive weapons account for 5% of Other crimes. Over the ten year period from 2006-07 to 2015-16 this crime has decreased by 69%, including a 5% decrease from 3,289 in 2014-15 to 3,111 in 2015-16.
Over the ten year period, all local authorities recorded a decrease in this category. Between 2014-15 and 2015-16, just over half (18) of local authorities showed a decrease.
The Other category within Other crimes includes Treason, Conspiracy, Explosive offences, Wrecking, piracy and hijacking, and Crimes against public order.
This category accounted for less than 1% of Other crimes in 2015-16. Despite some fluctuation, these crimes have decreased by 35% over the ten year period from 2006-07 to 2015-16, including a 13% decrease from 263 in 2014-15 to 229 in 2015-16, and are at their lowest level since 2004-05.
Almost three quarters (74%) of the fall in Other crimes can be attributed to a decrease in Possession of drugs, and Glasgow City contributed over three quarters of the overall decrease in Possession of drugs. As such 57% of the national fall in Other Crimes is due to a fall in Possession of drugs crimes in Glasgow City. Police Scotland have advised that due to improved intelligence and information gathering, a number of successful operations were undertaken across Glasgow which resulted in numerous supply offences being uncovered. This may have been a contributory factor to why recorded crimes of drug possession reduced significantly in Glasgow.
Total Recorded Offences
Total number of offences recorded in 2015-16:
Due to anomalies in the data for Miscellaneous offences and Motor vehicle offences, statistics for total recorded offences by the police are only comparable from 2013-14 onwards. Further detail on these anomalies can be found in the 'Data Considerations' sections below and in the following sections under each offence group, as well as in Annex 2.
The total number of offences recorded by the police in Scotland decreased by almost 11% from 379,498 in 2014-15 to 339,193 in 2015-16 ( Table 7). This amounts to an overall decrease of 32% since 2013-14.
Miscellaneous offences and Motor vehicle offences account for almost equal proportions of total offences, compared to 2013-14 when Motor vehicle offences accounted for almost 60% of the total.
Local Authority analysis:
Around two thirds (20) of local authority areas showed a decrease in recorded offences. Further explanation of these trends is set out in the following sections under each offence group.
It should be noted that the number of offences recorded by the police generally tends to be affected more by police activity and operational decisions than the numbers of crimes.
National Statistics on total recorded offences are based on data which Police Scotland extract from their IT system (called the Scottish Operational and Management Information System ( ScOMIS)) and submit to the Scottish Government. Prior to 2014-15 and the establishment of Police Scotland, the Scottish Government collected recorded offences data from the eight legacy forces, who in turn extracted the data from their own systems.
Coinciding with this change of collection, the Scottish Government carried out an extensive data quality exercise to assess the comparability of data extracted from ScOMIS with the data published in previous bulletins. This analysis identified that a number of offence codes are non-comparable over time. For Group 6, Miscellaneous Offences, all data are fully comparable from 2008-09 onwards. For Group 7, Motor Vehicle Offences and hence the overall figures on Offences (based on Group 6 and 7), data are only comparable from 2013-14 onwards.
The Scottish Government produced a Technical Report in 2014 which detailed the quality assurance work it carried out in reaching this conclusion: http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Statistics/Browse/Crime-Justice/PubRecordedCrime/TechnicalReport.
Scottish Government statisticians reviewed a random sample of 500 common assault crime records from 2014-15 to develop a better understanding of the nature of this type of offence. The analysis of this research is included toward the end of the Group 6 - Miscellaneous offences section.