The number of sex crimes recorded by police in Scotland has more than doubled in the past decade but the justice secretary has said the country “continues to be a safe place to live”.
The Scottish government’s annual crime statistics show that although crime numbers fell overall, the total of sexual offences has risen by 6 per cent, to 14,838, since September last year.
The figures for 2021-22 show a 101.63 per cent increase in the past decade, from 7,359 recorded in 2012.
Say Women, a charity supporting survivors of sexual violence, said that the #MeToo movement was likely to have helped to drive the increase.
A spokesman said: “We believe #MeToo had a huge impact on survivors reporting: 2,426 cases of rape and attempted rape [were] reported to Police Scotland, [an] increase of 143 per cent since 2009 to 2010. Actual figures are likely higher due to low reporting of these crimes. The justice system has long been a failure to women who have survived abuse.”
Keith Brown, the justice secretary, said: “The figures today show Scotland continues to be a safe place to live. Recorded crime is at one of the lowest levels seen since 1974, and below pre-pandemic levels. These historically low levels of crime are testimony to the continued efforts across the justice sector.”
Police in Scotland recorded 287,374 crimes in the year ending September 2022, with this total down by 3 per cent from the 297,712 crimes recorded in the year ending September 2021.
However, once crimes recorded under the coronavirus-related legislation are excluded, crime increased by 3 per cent since last year. Non-sexual violent crimes also increased, and were 8 per cent higher than in the year ending September 2021, rising from 64,147 to 69,353.
Pauline McNeill, Scottish Labour’s justice spokeswoman, said that the rise in sexual and violent crimes was “shocking”. She said: “It beggars belief that the SNP government would try to pretend these figures are anything other than a national scandal.”
The Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokesperson Liam McArthur said that the SNP could “no longer get away with spinning the figures”.
A Scottish government spokesman said: “While recorded crime has fallen by 42 per cent in total since 2006-7, some types of crime, including sexual crime, has seen an increase in the number of offences reported to police.
“The Scottish government has taken robust action to help justice agencies tackle sexual offending.”News