This report presents information about the characteristics of police recorded attempted murder and serious assault in Scotland. ‘Attempted murder and serious assault’ is one of four categories Police Scotland use to record non-sexual crimes of violence – the other three being ‘Homicide etc.’, ‘Robbery’ and ‘Other violence’.
This report provides information about crimes of attempted murder and serious assault which have come to the attention of the police. It does not provide information on the characteristics of all crimes of attempted murder and serious assault committed in society, as not all of these crimes are reported to the police.
The information presented is based on a sample of police records (rather than all records), and provides a broad indication of the characteristics of the ‘Attempted murder and serious assault’ category, rather than an exact measure.
This report is based on a review of police recorded crimes of attempted murder and serious assault from both 2008-09 and 2017-18. This approach was chosen to help inform users about the extent to which attempted murder and serious assault committed today in Scotland may differ in its character to attempted murder and serious assault committed 10 years ago. Over the longer term the number of crimes of attempted murder and serious assault recorded by the police has fallen substantially, down 35% over the past 10 years (from 6,472 in 2008-09 to 4,189 in 2017-18) (Chart 1). This decrease is broadly similar to the overall fall in police recorded non-sexual crimes of violence (down 43% between 2008-09 and 2017-18).
Chart 1 also shows an increase in attempted murder and serious assault in 2015-16. When Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland published a review of incident and crime recording in 2013, they recommended that the definition used for serious assault within the Scottish Crime Recording Standard (SCRS) be reviewed and clarified, as some police officers sought greater clarity from the existing guidance. In response to this, enhanced guidelines as to the interpretation of serious assault were introduced in January 2015.
When publishing their Management Information report for Quarter 4 2015-16 in June 2016, Police Scotland advised that this action may have resulted in some crimes that would have been seen previously as common assaults now falling into the category of serious assault. This in turn my have led to an increase in overall levels of serious assault in 2015-16 (the first full year following the introduction of enhanced guidelines).
Chart 1. Crimes of Attempted Murder and Serious Assault Recorded by the Police, 1998-99 to 2017-18
Source: National Statistics on Police Recorded Crime, Scotland
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