This information is contained in the statistical bulletin Recorded Crime in Scotland, 1995 published today.
Crimes and offences are grouped for statistical purposes - with crimes generally being the more serious. The main points evident within each group are:
The number of crimes of indecency decreased by eight %. Within this category, recorded cases of lewd and libidinous practices decreased by 10 %. Recorded cases of sexual assault rose by two % to total 1,600 in 1995. Within this sub-category, recorded cases of rape (including assault with intent to ravish) increased by five 4 to 600 in 1995. The number of 'other' crimes of indecency fell by 12%. This increase is largely attributable to a seven % decrease in prostitution related offences from 1,100 in 1994 to 1,000 in 1995.
The number of recorded crimes of dishonesty continued to decrease in 1995. This was due, in the main, to reductions in the number of recorded cases of housebreaking, thefts by opening a lockfast place and thefts of motor vehicles. The number of housebreakings fell by 14,200 in 1995 to 74,200, a decrease of 16% following a decrease of 10% in 1994.
This latest decrease in the number of housebreakings reversed the upward trend in the 1980s and returned the figure to below the level experienced in 1978. 54% of the decrease in 1995 occurred in Strathclyde.
With effect from 1994 the housebreaking figures have been sub-divided to reflect a domestic/other property split - 60 % of all the housebreakings in 1995, as in 1994, involved a domeages, garden sheds). Recorded cases of theft by opening a lockfast place and theft of a motor vehicle both decreased by 11% to number 66,500 and 37,500 respectively.
Recorded drug offences increased by 28% from 19,300 cases in 1994 to 24,800 in 1995. This continues the upward trend in recent years, with increases of 25% in 1991, 13% in 1992, 33% in 1993 and seven % in 1994. Within the drugs sub-category, recorded cases of supply and possession with intent to supply increased by 36% (from 5,600 to 7,700) and recorded cases of possession of drugs increased by 26% from 13,100 in 1994 to 16,500 in 1995. This latest increase evidence in 1995 may, in part, be explained by increased police activity in this area.
Six of the eight police forces showed a fall in the number of crimes recorded in 1995. These were Dumfries and Galloway and Fife (Both down 15%), Tayside (down nine %), Strathclyde (down five %) and Lothian and Borders (down three %). The two forces which showed a rise in the number of crimes recorded in 1995 were Grampian (up one %) and Northern (up 16%).
The clear-up rate for crimes rose from 37 % in 1994 to 39% in 1995, the highest rate in the past 10 years. The Scottish forces had, in 1995, widely differing clear-up rates from crimes, partly reflecting the different characteristics of the areas and the crimes committed. The rates varied from 35% in Strathclyde police force area to 61% in Central and 66% in the Northern Constabulary area.
The number of miscellaneous offences recorded rose by one per cent from 133,000 in 1994 to 134,000 in 1995. Within this group, recorded cases of petty assault rose by three per cent from 45,100 in 1994 to 46,600 in 1995 and the number of cases of breach of the peace increased by one per cent from 65,500 in 1994 to 66,100 in 1995.
Motor vehicle offences
In 1995, there was a decrease in all of the sub-categories within the motor vehicle offences group. The overall total number of recorded motor vehicle offences decreased from 331,000 in 1994 to 318,000 in 1995 - a decrease of four per cent. Recorded cases of dangerous and careless driving decreased from 21,100 in 1994 to 18,700 in 1995, a fall of 11%. The number of recorded cases of speeding in 1995 was similar to the number recorded in the two previous years - 85,400 in 1993, 85,800 in 1994 and 85,100 in 1995.
The number of cases of drunk driving similarly showed little change (10,900 in 1993, 10,800 in 1994, and 10,700 in 1995).
-- Copies of the bulletin are available from the HMSO Bookshop, 71 Lothian Road, Edinburgh, EH3 9AZ, price £2.
The five per cent fall in recorded crime in 1995 is testimony to both the hard work by the police on the front line against crime and to the efforts by the public to care for their property and beat the criminal, James Douglas-Hamilton, minister of state at The Scottish Office, said today.
'The continuing fall in recorded crime in Scotland is good news for everyone. This is testimony to the hard work by police forces throughout Scotland in the front line against crime. In addition, the signs are that the public are responding positively to national campaigns and local police forces initiatives, and are taking more care to secure their property and beat the criminal.
'Although welcoming this overall reduction in crime I note with some concern the increase in violent crime between 1994 and 1995; the rise in the number of cases of `handling offensive weapons' is particularly disturbing. It is important to stress that the government and the police are, and will continue to do, everything in their power to combat such crime.
'I am particularly pleased that the police clear-up rate for crimes has further improved to its highest rate in nearly 10 years. Further measures such as providing 500 additional officers on the beat over the next three years, £4m of funding for CCTV schemes over the same period and enhanced technological support made available to police for solving crime, should enable us to build on the significant success of the past four years.'