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Student Enquiries

The Scottish Government receives numerous requests from students, particularly those undertaking an Advanced Higher in Modern Studies, on various crime related topics. As a result the Scottish Government has developed this section on the Crime and Justice section of the Scottish Government website. This webpage provides a place where students can find links to material that should be of relevance to them and aid them in their studies.

Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research (SCCJR) have created a section on their website which focuses on some of the most popular topics pupils select for their assignments and dissertations. Thiscan be accessed here:

There are two principal sources of crime statistics in Scotland, namely police recorded crime, published in the Recorded Crime in Scotland bulletin, and the Scottish Crime and Justice Survey, a national survey which asks respondents about their experiences of crime.

The Recorded Crime in Scotland bulletin series presents data on crimes recorded and cleared up by the police in Scotland. Table 5 provides an overview of crime rates over the last ten years. The recorded crime data are not available at a level lower than local authority. Clearly, only a limited selection of tables can be included in the publication. However, if having seen the information available, you wish to make a request for additional data, this can be submitted to

It is worth also worth bearing in mind that it is unlikely that perpetrators of crime will commit crimes in the same area in which they live. The Recorded Crime in Scotland bulletin series presents data on crimes recorded and cleared up by the police in Scotland. The bulletin series can be accessed here:

However, statistics held centrally on recorded crime cannot be broken down by the characteristics of the victims or perpetrators of crime.

The Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD) includes a crime indicator for which a separate data collection of recorded crime are carried out, at datazone level (aggregation of postcodes to protect disclosure of small numbers). However, not all crime types are included in the indicator, and only a total is available. It is not possible to provide a crime breakdown due to the small size of the areas. Further information can be found via the following web link:

The Scottish Crime and Justice Survey (SCJS) is a national survey, obtaining responses from around 12,000 adults (aged 16 and over) living in private households.

The main aims of the SCJS are to:

  • Examine trends in the number and nature of crimes in Scotland over time, providing a complementary measure of crime compared with police recorded crime statistics;
  • Examine the varying risk of crime for different groups of adults in the population;
  • Provide a valid and reliable measure of adults' experience of crime, including services provided to victims of crime;
  • Collect information about adults' experiences of, and attitudes to, a range of crime and justice related issues.

Recorded crime and the SCJS are complementary sources of crime statistics in Scotland that, together, provide a more comprehensive picture of crime. The estimates produced by crime surveys are higher than the level of crime recorded by the police. This shows that, for many reasons, not all crime comes to the attention of the police. Therefore, a key strength of the SCJS is its ability to capture crimes that are not reported to, and therefore not recorded by, the police. The information provided by such surveys complements the information compiled by Police Scotland, as well as exploring other issues such as the impact of crime on victims, public anxieties and reactions to crime and attitudes towards the police and other parts of the criminal justice system. Further information on SCJS can be accessed here:

In addition, to the Recorded Crime in Scotland bulletin, the Scottish Government publishes four topic specific bulletins that are based on police recorded crime data. The bulletins are: Domestic Abuse Recorded by the Police in Scotland, Homicide in Scotland, Racist Incidents Recorded by the Police in Scotland and Recorded Crimes and Offences Involving Firearms.

The Scottish Government also publishes three other bulletins based on data collected from the police: Drug Seizures Recorded by the Police in Scotland, Firearm Certificates, Statistics, Scotland and Police Officer Quarterly Strength Statistics, Scotland.

The Scottish Government publishes bulletins that cover the criminal justice systems once crimes and offences have been recorded by the police. They are: Criminal Proceedings in Scotland, Prison Statistics Scotland and Reconviction Rates in Scotland.

Additional links that may be of use include: