August 1, 2018 Media

Austerity and violent crime

Violent crime is on the rise again in Scotland.

It had fallen for five years, but is now at its highest level since 2012/13.

Scottish Government figures show there were 7,164 violent crimes in Scotland last year, compared to 6,737 in 2015/16.

Despite a dramatic fall in recent years, thanks in part to the work of the pioneering Violence Reduction Unit, the number of violent crimes has risen sharply, with a jump of 14 per cent in the past two years.

The increase has also been matched by a fall in the proportion of the crimes solved by Police Scotland – falling from 84 per cent to 77 per cent.

Recent research also suggests that violent crime is linked to poverty, inequality, alcohol and experience of violence itself.

We need to ask serious questions about how – and why – violent crime is once again rising in Scotland.

Clearly it is a question of resources for the police.

It is clear SNP cuts to frontline policing are putting the public at greater risk.

With more of these incidents than ever in Police Scotland’s history, it is no surprise that the proportion of crimes being solved is falling.

We need continued action to ensure crime rates fall, and that includes making sure police officers are properly resourced.

But there are also wider questions for the SNP government here. Given we know violent crime is linked to poverty and deprivation, it is clear we will not be able to tackle this issue while the Tories and the SNP continue with the failed ideology of austerity.

If we really plan to tackle violent crime, we need to see more support not just for the police, but more support for society as well.