RISHI Sunak has been caught out quoting dodgy statistics about the rate of crimes in Scotland.


The Prime Minister claimed that violent crime was on the rise during an exchange with SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford on Wednesday.

He said: “[Blackford] will know that violent crime is rising in Scotland and police numbers are falling, whereas we are increasing police numbers here. I look forward to working with the Scottish Government on our shared challenges, because I believe in a strong United Kingdom.”


No, violent crime isn’t on the rise – it returned to pre-pandemic levels after being artificially suppressed during lockdown, while overall rates of non-sexual violent crime in Scotland have been on a downward trajectory since 2013.

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The National has found this is a selective reading of statistics which misrepresents the real rate of crime.

A health warning also needs to accompany these figures, which only cover reports of crimes. It is not possible to know the actual level of crime; both reported and unreported.  

According to the most recent count, crimes did increase in 2021-22 from the last count but this reflected a return to normal levels before lockdown, when non-sexual violent crimes dropped dramatically.

The National:

Shown on a graph, the rise almost exactly mirrors the previous years’ fall. Common assault – which includes the immediate threat of violence as well as actual attacks – counted for the lion’s share of this rise at some 84% of non-sexual violent crimes in 2021-2022.

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The National:

Taken over a 10-year period, common assault has fallen in Scotland by around 4%, figures show.

Serious assault and attempted murder both fell dramatically during lockdown but did not recover to pre-pandemic levels in the period.

Rates of murder and culpable homicide have remained stable since the creation of Police Scotland in 2013.

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However, sex crimes such as rape and sexual assault have risen dramatically since Scotland’s police forces were amalgamated nearly a decade ago, with overall figures up 96% since then.

The National:

The overall rate of sexual crimes was up 15% since 2020-21. Sexual assault, which makes up just over a third of all sex crimes in Scotland, decreased slightly during lockdown, but most other crimes of this nature, including rape and attempted rape, continued to rise steadily or plateaued.

The National:

Partly this increase can be explained by cultural changes, such as the rise of the MeToo movement, which have made people feel more confident in reporting sex crimes - these figures show reports of crime, not the actual level of crime which is not measurable.  

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Ayr MP Allan Dorans, the SNP’s policing spokesperson, said: “Non-sexual violent crime in Scotland has remained stable for ten years, at the lowest level in decades but with an increase in 2021-2022, back to the level of 2012 to 2019, after an artificially low level during the pandemic year, 2020-2021.

“In 2021-2022, there were 69,286 violent crimes in Scotland and 1.5 million in England and Wales making the rate, per head of population there, slightly more than twice as high.”

The Scottish Government declined to comment. 


Solid 2/10. Technically, there has been an increase in violent crime since the artificially low rates during lockdown, so that's not the whole truth. It also obscures the overall downward trajectory of violent crime in Scotland in the last decade.

Sex crimes appear to be on the rise - though partly this is caused because we're talking about reports of crimes, not the number of crimes actually being committed. Police can only record the number of crimes reported to them - actual crime is not measuarble. Growth in internet crimes is partly explainable by an increasingly online world, where more people than ever use and have access to computers. 

The National: