Scotland

Criminal convictions in Scotland fall to record low

Courtroom Image copyright Scottish Court Service

The number of criminal convictions in Scotland has fallen to the lowest level on record, according to government figures.

Fewer than 100,000 people were convicted in Scottish courts last year, the statistics showed.

The number of people facing court proceedings also dropped by 5%.

However, a record 1,156 people were convicted of sexual crimes in 2015-16, up from 1,152 the previous year and from 857 in 2006-07.

The Criminal Proceedings in Scotland report was compiled by Scotland's chief statistician.

It is the first time that fewer than 100,000 people have been convicted in a year - the figure dropping to 99,950 from 106,622 (a fall of 6%).

The Scottish government said that, in part, this reflected a fall in recorded crime to its lowest level in 42 years.

'Hidden crime'

Convictions for domestic abuse in Scottish courts reached their second highest level last year, with 12,374 people convicted.

This figure compares with 8,566 in 2010-11 and the highest figure of 12,440 in 2014-15.

Justice Secretary Michael Matheson said: "Tackling the often 'hidden' crime of domestic abuse is a key priority for this government, so I welcome the fact our police and prosecutors continue to bring perpetrators to justice.

"However, I'm determined that our law enforcement agencies have the necessary powers to tackle this crime in all its forms.

"That is why I will shortly introduce to parliament legislation creating a new criminal offence of domestic abuse that will include psychological abuse which can be difficult to deal with under existing laws."

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