Homicides fall to the lowest number on record

Written by Mark McLaughlin on 11 October 2016 in News

Police recorded 57 homicides in 2015-16 – representing an 8% fall on the previous year and 52% down on the 119 cases recorded in 2006-07.

Photo credit: PA

Half as many people were unlawfully killed last year than a decade ago with homicides now at their lowest level on record, official figures show.

Police recorded 57 homicides in 2015-16 – representing an 8% fall on the previous year and 52% down on the 119 cases recorded in 2006-07.

This is the lowest annual figure since 1976, the first year for which comparable data are available.

Justice Secretary Michael Matheson said: “While it is encouraging to see continued falls in homicide cases alongside the long-term decline in violent crime, the sustained efforts that have helped achieve this – through education and enforcement – must continue, because each of the lives lost is one life too many.

“There is a clear role across a range of public services, in addition to the critical work of our police, to continue to support communities that may remain at risk from violent crime and to challenge irresponsible attitudes both to alcohol misuse and to so-called ‘casual’ violence.

“We will continue to work with partners and invest in a range of projects to help steer our young people away from the risks of a life of violence and crime, while also ensuring our law enforcement agencies and the courts have the powers and resources needed to deal with those who do harm to others.”

Sharp instruments - such as knives, broken bottles, swords or sharpened screwdrivers - were the most common weapon and accounted for 51% of homicides (or 29) in 2015-16. 

Nearly all these cases (26 out of 29) involve a knife. While the majority of the accused had an unknown status for alcohol and drugs, 31% (or 20 people) were identified by the police as being under the influence of alcohol or alcohol and drugs.

The Scottish Government said it has invested more than £10.5 million in violence reduction programmes since 2006-07.

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