At First Minister’s Questions today, Scottish Labour’s Pauline McNeill will ask:
To ask the First Minister what action the Scottish Government plans to take in light of reported figures showing that sexual and violent crime in Scotland has risen significantly over the last five years.
Scottish Labour may well know the truth but that won’t stop them asking in the hope of a cheap inaccurate headline.
Re Sexual Crimes:
The First Minister cannot, for obvious political reasons, just dismiss the question but I can:
1. The implementation of the Abusive Behaviour and Sexual Harm (Scotland) Act 2016 has had an impact on any comparisons with data prior to 2017-18. As such, part of the increase in Other sexual crimes since 2016-17 (last five years) is due to this legislative change.
2. In each of the last 5 years, around 25% of all sexual crimes were recorded at least one year after they occurred.
3. A BBC report in 2016 suggested that more than a third of sexual offences that year were committed before December 2010 when the above act came into force.
4. So, the apparent increase is likely to be at least non-significant if not illusory.
Re violent crimes:
“Overall reported violent crime was up 12.8% year on year (13,951 to 15,743), but down 2.1% on the five-year average.”
Note a one-year variation is not statistically meaningful. Trends can only reliably be detected over periods of at least 5 years. The trend is down!