Recorded crime has continued to fall in the past year, according to new figures published by Police Scotland.
Between April 1 2015 and March 31 2016, there was an overall 3.2 per cent decrease in crime recorded in Groups 1-5 with an increase in the overall detection rate of one per cent to 51.6 per cent.
There were 246,243 recorded crimes in Scotland during the year with 127,126 crimes detected.
Reductions in crimes of dishonesty accounted for a significant part of the fall in recorded with falls in housebreaking, motor vehicle crime and thefts.
Last year there were 49 murders recorded, with only one remaining undetected. This is the lowest figure recorded in Scotland under the modern crime recording practices and six fewer than the previous year.
While crimes of violence increased from last year, longer terms patterns indicate levels of this type of offending is significantly below the five-year average.
Sexual crime increased in 2015/16 compared with the previous 12 months. Police Scotland has undertaken significant efforts to encourage reporting of such crime, much of which is non-recent in nature and sees this as a positive step with an indication that is as a result of greater trust in the police response.
Deputy Chief Constable Iain Livingstone said: “The absolute driving focus of everyone in Police Scotland is to provide excellence in service in protecting our communities from harm.
“Recorded crime management information helps us ensure we’re making the right decisions at the right time about how best the men and women of Police Scotland can do that throughout the country, around the clock.
“The overall reduction in recorded crime is to be welcomed; it means fewer victims of crime in our communities.
“There were fewer than 50 murders last year across the whole of the country with Major Investigation teams working closely with local policing officers to detect those crimes and manage the impact in communities.
“The loss of any life is a tragedy and we will continue to do all we can to reduce violent crime.
“In continuing to tackle sexual crime, we have committed significant resources to the investigation of non-recent sexual abuse, domestic abuse, rape and other sexual offending with a focus on victim-centred investigations.
“We aim to use intelligence and the latest investigative techniques to ensure offenders are caught.
“Preventative and awareness work has also taken place with partners as part of our violence prevention strategy to impact on those who would commit such crimes in a way that changes and challenges their behaviour.
“The past 12 months have continued to present challenges for policing in Scotland; the emergence of cyber-related crime is being closely monitored as we move forward.
“The professionalism of officers and staff has ensured we continue to perform strongly and deliver a high level of service to the people of Scotland faced with a range of demands from the public and the communities we serve.
“Recorded crime information tells part of the story around policing efforts to keep communities safe; officers and staff are committed to responding the many thousands of calls for service we receive annually which are not necessarily recorded as crimes.
“We want to ensure that policing in Scotland can continue to deliver an excellent local service supported where and when necessary by specialist national resources which protects the public.”
Recorded crime management information is published on a quarterly basis.
The latest set of information covers the period between January and March 2016 (Quarter 4) and provides a snapshot of recorded crime over the full year from April 2015.
Key points from the publication are:
Overall decrease in recorded crime (in Groups 1-5) of 3.2 per cent; this is more than 13 per cent below the five year average.
Group 1 (crimes of violence) increased by 5.3 per cent.
Group 2 (sexual crime) increased by 6.2 per cent
Group 3 (dishonesty) decreased by 7.8 per cent
Group 4 (fire-raising, malicious mischief, etc) increased by 4.4 per cent
Group 5 (Other crimes) fell by 2.4 per cent.
Robberies fell 11.4%
Serious Assaults were up 24.2% although enhanced guidelines for recording serious assaults were published in January 2015 resulting in some crimes that would have been seen previously as minor assaults now falling into the category of serious assault.
The number of domestic abuse incidents reported during 2015/16 decreased by 3.1% to total 57,687. Domestic crime accounted for 26% of all violent crime and 11% of sexual crime
Sexual crime recorded by Police Scotland increased by 6.2%. There were 6.5% fewer rapes recorded during the 12 month period; nearly 40 per cent of rape reports were non recent (which means they were reported more than 12 months after the rape took place).
A total of 179 people died on the roads between April 2015 and March 2016, 12 fewer than in the year before. The number of people seriously injured also fell by 6%.
Confidence levels in the Police Scotland remain high with 78.2% of people surveyed on user satisfaction said their confidence level in Police Scotland was high or very high.