Number of homicides in Scotland remains at four-decade low

Humza Yousaf
Humza Yousaf

The number of homicides in Scotland remains at its lowest level in 40 years, according to new statistics.

There were 60 cases in 2018/19, the third lowest number of recorded homicide cases for a single 12-month period since 1976, after 59 cases were recorded in 2015/16 and 17/18.

The number of homicide cases in Scotland has remained relatively stable in recent years, with between 59 and 63 cases recorded each year since 2012-13.

Over the ten year period from 2009-10 to 2018-19, the number of homicide cases in Scotland fell by 25 per cent (20 cases) from 80 to 60.

In 2018-19, 61 victims of homicide were recorded, three per cent (two victims) more than the 59 victims recorded in 2017-18. Of the 61 victims, three-quarters (46) were male.

In 2018-19, 83 persons were accused of homicide and 88 per cent (73) of them were male. Of the 60 cases of homicide recorded for 2018-19, 57 were solved and three are currently unsolved.

For each of the last ten years, the most common method of killing was with a sharp instrument. In 2018-19, a sharp instrument was the main method of killing for 44 per cent (27) of homicide victims.

Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf said: “While the number of homicides in Scotland is significantly lower than a decade ago – in line with the overall fall in crime – any death is one too many. Behind these figures are grieving families and friends and my sincere sympathies go out to all those who have lost a loved one.

“We are working to ensure that victims’ interests are at the heart of our criminal justice system and we recognise the enormous trauma experienced by families bereaved by murder and culpable homicide.

“As part of more than £18 million invested annually to improve support, advice and information for all victims of crime, we have funded Victim Support Scotland to deliver a free and confidential new caseworker support service for families bereaved by crime.

“We are determined to help people break free from cycles of violence. We will continue our efforts to drive down violent crime, both through education and enforcement, supporting prevention work with people of all ages and ensuring Scotland’s law enforcement agencies and courts have the resources to deal with those who harm others.”