VIOLENT crime in Scotland, such as serious assault and attempted murder, has dropped by more than one-third in 10 years, according to new analysis. A study of incidents recorded by police shows a 35% fall 2008-09 and 2017-18.

It found that 89% of the total drop in violence has been due to fewer cases in the west of Scotland – particularly in and around Glasgow.

Serious assaults are also now less likely to involve a weapon, despite still accounting for more than half the cases, while the average age of victims is 31 compared to 27 a decade ago.

Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf welcomed the figures, saying: “This research highlights the positive impact of our investment in early intervention in reducing violent crime and saving lives, particularly among young men in the west of Scotland who, historically, have been at the highest risk of falling victim to violence. Our public health approach to reducing violence has garnered interest from London and elsewhere in the UK, as well as from the World Economic Forum.”

The report found most serious assaults still involved a male victim (80%), although these cases fell 41%, while there was little change in the number of female victims.

Most male victims were attacked by an acquaintance (55%), while in 23% of cases it was a stranger. Just over half of female victims (52%) were found to have been assaulted by a partner, former partner or relative.

Yousaf added: “Despite this progress, we are working closely with police and others to tackle violence wherever it persists, and that includes keeping women and girls equally safe. We have strengthened the law, giving police, prosecutors and the courts greater powers to tackle various forms of domestic abuse while investing in preventative projects, promote positive relationships among young people.”

Almost two-thirds of serious assaults in 2017-18 involved alcohol. Yousaf said: “Having introduced a minimum unit price for alcohol last year, the Scottish Government is continuing to develop innovative solutions to public health challenges.

“There is absolutely no room for complacency and we continue to invest in Police Scotland, the Scottish Violence Reduction Unit and other prevention initiatives. At the same time, it is also clear that all of us in society – families, friends, educators and employers – have a role to play in eradicating violence in all its forms.”

Police Scotland Assistant Chief Constable Bernard Higgins said: “The report demonstrates the significant progress that has been made to reduce violence in Scotland, particularly the west of Scotland.

“It is to be welcomed that the report states fewer people are carrying weapons However, there is still much work to do to try to influence the behaviours of those who are still intent on carrying knives.