A Violent Crime Takes Place In Scotland Every 37 Minutes

One violent crime is committed every 37 minutes in Scotland as the country fails to tackle the “blades menace”. The latest statistics show a slight increase in the number of crimes and offences overall last year to more than a million.

But while crimes of dishonesty and housebreaking fell to a record low, non-sexual crimes of violence were up by three per cent to 14,099 – or 39 violent crimes every day. Kenny MacAskill, the justice secretary, blamed the “blades menace” and promised a further crackdown on knife culture.

But experts said it would take a generation to turn around “a country where violence is no longer regarded as an inevitable fact of life”. The rise in violent crime was first revealed earlier this summer following an investigation in The Scotsman that found an increase in the number of assault victims attending accident and emergency departments.

This has now been supported in the latest crime statistics which show that violent crime rose by three per cent last year. The biggest increase was in serious offences such as murder and attempted murder, up by five per cent. Robbery was up by one per cent while other violent crimes remained stable.

The previous two administrations had tried to make headway in tackling Scotland’s “booze and blades” culture, including a recent amnesty on knives. But levels have remained the same for the last decade.

“While figures can fluctuate from year to year, the bulletin shows that levels of the most serious crimes have barely changed in 10 years,” said Mr MacAskill. He pledged to maintain efforts to tackle a culture of violence. “There will be no let-up on the blades menace. An increasing emphasis on prevention and changing attitudes to knife carrying and its associated levels of violence will be a priority.”

But Detective Chief Superintendent John Carnochan, the head of the Violence Reduction Unit, said: “It simply proves what we have said from the start – any long-term changes in levels of violence in Scotland are not going to happen overnight.

“There is no magic cure for violence. That is why it is imperative that while we tackle violent crime as it happens in the short term, we must also work towards long-term, attitudinal change – and that will take time. Early-years education and support is central to this, and vital if we want future generations to grow up in a country where violence is no longer regarded as an inevitable fact of life.”

Last year, the total number of crimes rose by 0.4 per cent to 419,257, while less-serious offences rose by one per cent to 605,600. As well as violent crime, there was an increase in indecent assault, fire-raising, vandalism and handling an offensive weapon.

Bill Aitken, the Scottish Conservative justice spokesman, said the previous government “failed miserably in cutting crime”. He said: “Rape or attempted rape has risen by almost 50 per cent since 1999, drug crimes by almost 40 per cent and total offences by 21 per cent.” Margaret Curran, Labour’s justice spokeswoman, said the figures were more complex than they appeared, as her party urged victims of crime to report even minor incidents.

In less serious offences, recorded minor assaults were up by eight per cent to 78,167 and breaches of the peace were up by four per cent to 93,387.