Recorded crime has continued to fall in the past year, according to new figures published by Police Scotland.
Between April 1 2015 and March 31 this year, there was an overall 3.2 per cent decrease with an increase in the overall detection rate of one per cent to 51.6 per cent.
There were 246,243 recorded crimes in Scotland during the year with 127,126 crimes detected. Reductions in crimes of dishonesty accounted for a significant part of the fall with reductions in housebreaking, motor vehicle crime and thefts.
The murder rate was the lowest recorded in Scotland under the current crime recording procedure, with 49 murders - six fewer than the previous year - of which only one remains undetected.
While crimes of violence increased from last year, longer term patterns indicate levels of this type of offending is significantly below the five-year average.
Sexual crime increased in 2015/16 compared with the previous 12 months. Police Scotland has undertaken significant efforts to encourage reporting of such crime, and the rise is regarded as a positive step indicating greater trust in the police response.
Deputy Chief Constable Iain Livingstone said: “The overall reduction in recorded crime is to be welcomed; it means fewer victims of crime in our communities.
“There were fewer than 50 murders last year across the whole of the country with Major Investigation teams working closely with local policing officers to detect those crimes and manage the impact in communities.
“In continuing to tackle sexual crime, we have committed significant resources to the investigation of non-recent sexual abuse, domestic abuse, rape and other sexual offending with a focus on victim-centred investigations. We aim to use intelligence and the latest investigative techniques to ensure offenders are caught. Preventative and awareness work has also taken place with partners as part of our violence prevention strategy to impact on those who would commit such crimes in a way that changes and challenges their behaviour. “The past 12 months have continued to present challenges for policing in Scotland; the emergence of cyber-related crime is being closely monitored as we move forward.
“Recorded crime information tells part of the story around policing efforts to keep communities safe; officers and staff are committed to responding the many thousands of calls for service we receive annually which are not necessarily recorded as crimes.”
A total of 179 people died on the roads between April 2015 and March 2016, 12 fewer than in the year before, and the number of people seriously injured also fell by 6 per cent.
The report revealed that confidence levels in the Police Scotland remain high with 78.2 per cent of people surveyed on user satisfaction said their confidence level in Police Scotland was high or very high.
The full details of the management information on recorded crime during 2015/2016 is available at www.scotland.pnn.police.uk