SCOTLAND’S murder rate has fallen to its lowest level since modern records began, according to Police Scotland.

A total of 48 homicides were recorded during 2022-23 in the force’s latest Policing Performance report – the lowest number of any year.

The highest figure of 137 murders in a single year was recorded in 2004-05.

That same year a UN report described Scotland as the “most violent country in the developed world”.

Deputy Chief Constable Fiona Taylor welcomed the marked improvement but noted that each homicide represented an individual tragedy.

“The performance report underlines that Scotland is a safe place to live and work and, when criticality does arise, Police Scotland responds with high levels of operational competence.

“Since the service was formed ten years ago, Police Scotland’s extremely high detection rate continues. Only one homicide is undetected and that remains under investigation.

“Each one is an individual tragedy with unique circumstances and investigative challenges. Securing justice for families and loved ones is a core duty for Police Scotland and important for police legitimacy.”

The report also noted a reduction in the number of assaults suffered by Police Scotland officers and staff – down 438 (6.2%) to 6,657.

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Taylor added: “I welcome the reduction in assaults on our officers and staff which is the lowest number since 2018-19. We will continue to drive work as part of the Your Safety Matters programme, to reduce the impact violence and abuse has on our officers and staff.”

Police Scotland’s “Banking Protocol”, which teaches bank staff how to spot the signs of a customer who may have been the victim of a scam, was also featured in the report.

It noted how over the past year the protocol had thwarted £3.5 million of frauds, with a total of 1200 incidents reported.

Between just January and March this year the 294 incidents reported saw around £750,000 of fraud being prevented.