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Crime Clear up Rates: a data cube slice

Crimes cleared up by the police as a percentage of those recorded.

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Crime Or Offence
  1. All Crimes
  2. All Group 1: Non-sexual crimes of violence
  3. All Group 2: Sexual crimes
  4. All Group 3: Crimes of dishonesty
  5. All Group 4: Fire-raising / vandalism etc.
  6. All Group 5: Other crimes
  7. All Group 6: Miscellaneous offences
  8. Crimes: Coronavirus Restrictions
  9. Crimes: Group 1: Att. murder & serious assault
  10. Crimes: Group 1: Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Act
  11. Crimes: Group 1: Homicide etc.
  12. Crimes: Group 1: Other violence
  13. Crimes: Group 1: Robbery
  14. Crimes: Group 2: Crimes associated with prostitution
  15. Crimes: Group 2: Other sexual crimes
  16. Crimes: Group 2: Rape & attempted rape
  17. Crimes: Group 2: Sexual assault
  18. Crimes: Group 3: Fraud
  19. Crimes: Group 3: Housebreaking
  20. Crimes: Group 3: Other dishonesty
  21. Crimes: Group 3: Other theft
  22. Crimes: Group 3: Shoplifting
  23. Crimes: Group 3: Theft by opening lockfast places
  24. Crimes: Group 3: Theft from a motor vehicle
  25. Crimes: Group 3: Theft of motor vehicle
  26. Crimes: Group 4: Fire-raising
  27. Crimes: Group 4: Vandalism etc.
  28. Crimes: Group 5: Crimes against public justice
  29. Crimes: Group 5: Drugs
  30. Crimes: Group 5: Handling offensive weapons (not used in other criminal activity)
  31. Crimes: Group 5: Other
  32. Offences: Group 6: Breach of the peace etc.
  33. Offences: Group 6: Common assault
Measure Type
  1. Percent
Reference Period
  1. 1996/1997
  2. 1997/1998
  3. 1998/1999
  4. 1999/2000
  5. 2000/2001
  6. 2001/2002
  7. 2002/2003
  8. 2003/2004
  9. 2004/2005
  10. 2005/2006
  11. 2006/2007
  12. 2007/2008
  13. 2008/2009
  14. 2009/2010
  15. 2010/2011
  16. 2011/2012
  17. 2012/2013
  18. 2013/2014
  19. 2014/2015
  20. 2015/2016
  21. 2016/2017
  22. 2017/2018
  23. 2018/2019
  24. 2019/2020
Reference Area
(showing types of area available in these data)
  1. Countries
  2. Council Areas
Entire dataset
Note: These may be large files.
About the Dataset
Not supplied
Not supplied
In dataset
Next update due
October 2021

Crimes cleared up by the police as a percentage of those recorded. For more information on recorded crime figures see the Scottish Government website.

The definition of “cleared up” is noted below. This definition came into force with effect from 1 April 1996.

A crime or offence is regarded as cleared up where there exists a sufficiency of evidence under Scots law, to justify consideration of criminal proceedings.

Clear up rates are calculated as follows: (number of recorded crimes cleared up in year y / total number of recorded crimes in year y) x (100 / 1).

Crimes or offences recorded by the police as cleared up in one financial year, year y, may have been committed and therefore recorded in a previous year, i.e. year y-1. This means that the number of crimes and offences cleared up are being expressed as a percentage of a different set of crimes or offences. This means that clear up rates in excess of 100% can arise in a given year.

The statistical return from which the data are taken is a simple count of the numbers of crimes and offences recorded and cleared up by the police. Returns are submitted quarterly from Police Scotland at local authority level which allows a national total to be obtained.

Crimes and offences are included against the year in which they are recorded by the police. This is not necessarily the year in which the crime or offence took place, the year in which the accused is brought to trial for the crime or offence, or the year in which the case is finally disposed of by the courts.

Amendments (such as the deletion of incidents found on investigation not to be criminal) which arise after the end of the financial year are not incorporated.

Contraventions of Scottish criminal law are divided for statistical purposes into crimes and offences. “Crime” is generally used for the more serious criminal acts; the less serious termed “offences”, although the term “offence” may also be used in relation to serious breaches of criminal law. The distinction is made only for working purposes and the “seriousness” of the offence is generally related to the maximum sentence that can be imposed.

For further information see the Data Sources and Suitability document.

Confidentiality Policy

This dataset does not contain any sensitive or personal information.

Quality Management

Details of the quality assurance process can be found in the Framework of Assurance and Quality Assurance Paper.

Accuracy and Reliability

A quality assurance process is in operation which includes automated validation procedures and manual checks for significant changes in the data and unrealistic values. Any questionable values are referred back to Police Scotland for either correction or for an explanation to be provided for any unusual values. Police Scotland are required to sign-off their data at the end of the validation process. Bulletins are subjected to a secondary level of checking by statisticians who have not been involved in the production process.

Coherence and Comparability

Comparable time series data for total crimes and offences are available dating back to 1930 upon request. Additionally, from 1971 onwards further breakdowns of crimes and offences are available. Please note that due to due to local government reorganisation, data for 1975 are not available. Comparable time series for crimes and offences cleared up are available from 1976 onwards.

The reporting year was changed from calendar to financial year, with the last reported calendar year being 1994 and the first reported financial year being 1995-96. Information is electronically available via the Scottish Government’s website dating back to 1988. Long term, as well as short term, comparability of some crime groups over time will be affected due to changes in legislation. An example of this is the introduction of the Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009, which came into force on 1 December 2010. Further details regarding this can be found in the Note on comparability of Sexual crimes data.

Recorded crime statistics for England and Wales are not directly comparable with those in Scotland. The recorded crime statistics for Scotland are collected on the basis of the Scottish Crime Recording Standard (SCRS), which was introduced in 2004. In England and Wales the recording of crime statistics are based up on the National Crime Recording Standard (NCRS) and Home Office Counting Rules for recorded crime. Like its counterpart in England and Wales, the SCRS aims to give consistency in crime recording. The main principles of the SCRS itself are similar to the NCRS for England and Wales with regard to when a crime should be recorded. However there are various differences between the respective Counting Rules in that they specify different approaches for counting the number of crimes that should be recorded as a result of a single incident. For example, crimes recorded in England and Wales tend to be incident based where the Principle Crime Rule states that if the sequence of crimes in an incident, or a complex crime, contains more than one type of crime, then the most serious crime should be counted. For example, an incident where an intruder breaks into a home and assaults the sole occupant would be recorded as two crimes in Scotland, while in England and Wales it would be recorded as one crime. Differences in legislation and common law have also to be taken into account when comparing the crime statistics for England and Wales and Scotland. A guide to the comparability of recorded crime between England and Wales and Scotland has been published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and can be accessed on the ONS website.

Crime Statistics for England and Wales are published quarterly on the ONS website and can be accessed at here. The legal system in Northern Ireland is based on that of England and Wales and the Police Service for Northern Ireland (PSNI) has the same notifiable offence list for recorded crime as used in England and Wales. In addition, the PSNI has adopted the NCRS and Home Office Counting Rules for recorded crime that applies in England and Wales. Thus there are similar comparability considerations between recorded crime statistics for Northern Ireland and Scotland. Crime statistics for Northern Ireland are collected and published separately. The latest police recorded crime data for Northern Ireland can be accessed here.

Due to differences in legislation, there are also comparability issues when comparing the statistics for the recorded number of crimes given in the Recorded Crime bulletin internationally. Data users are always advised to consult any relevant and accompanying metadata and to proceed with caution when formulating any arguments or drawing any conclusions from international recorded crime comparisons.

Accessibility and Clarity

Information is presented at a national (Scotland) level, with core tables provided at Local Authority level.


Primary source of detailed and reliable information on recorded crimes and offences in Scotland.

High-profile justice issue which shows levels of crime in Scotland. Informs the Scotland Performs National Outcome 9 – ‘we live our lives safe from crime, disorder and danger’.

Informs The Strategy for Justice in Scotland.

Attracts significant media and political interest, particularly in relation violent crime, sexual crimes and crimes of handling offensive weapons. Data on violent crime and crimes of handling offensive weapons are regularly included in evidence accounts relating to knife crime. The data are also used in the Scottish Government’s No Knives, Better Lives campaign.

Statistics on sexual crimes against children are regular supplied to children’s charities such as the NSPPC and Children 1st.

The statistics are also used by a wide range of stakeholders to monitor trends, for policy research and development, and for research purposes. These include other Scottish Government Departments, such as Transport Scotland and the Directorate for Environment and Forestry, Local Authorities, the NHS, including ISD Scotland and Health Scotland, and the Office for National Statistics.

Recorded crime data are regularly used by school pupils and both undergraduate and postgraduate students who are undertaking research on crime related topics. There is considerable academic and parliamentary interest in the bulletin.

Recorded crime figures are annually supplied for inclusion in international compendiums, such as the Eurostat Crime and Criminal Justice Statistics and the United Nations Survey on Crime Trends and Operations of Criminal Justice Systems.

Timeliness and Punctuality

The statistical bulletin is generally published in the September following the end of the financial year in question.


Revisions and corrections to this publication are dealt with in accordance with the Scottish Government published policy.


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Dimensions Linked Data

A linked data-orientated view of dimensions and values

Dimension Locked Value
Crime Or Offence
All Crimes
Reference Area
(not locked to a value)
Reference Period
(not locked to a value)
Measure Type
(not locked to a value)