Firearms offences in Scotland are at a record low
The number of firearms offences last year was the lowest on record since current data collection began in 1980.
The number of firearms offences in Scotland has fallen to a record low, according to official statistics.
Figures published by the Scottish Government indicate that a total of 348 offences in which a firearm was alleged to have been involved were recorded by police during 2017/2018.
It represents the lowest number of offences than in any other year since current data collection began in 1980.
Over the period for 2017/18, 36% of offences took place in a dwelling, with 20% happening in the street. A total of 8% meanwhile took place in a shop.
Of the perpetrators of offences, 93% were male, with an average age of 28.
An air weapon was the most commonly used firearm, with 55% of offences attributed to the use of one.
Use of a pistol/revolver made up 17% of the total number of offences, with imitation firearms comprising 13% and shotguns with 11% of the total.
Offences using a rifle made up 4% of the statistics.
While firearms offences are rare, we know that just one such incident can have a devastating impact on victims and the wider community. Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf
The latest statistics also highlight a fall from 350 offences recorded over 2016/ 2017 and a total of 402 offences in 2015/2016.
Although the number of serious assaults involving a firearm increased by from five in 2016/2017 to eight in the most recent period.
The number of attempted murders using a firearm also rose from eight to ten over the same timescale.
Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf said: “These figures show we are continuing to make progress in tackling firearms misuse with offences now at their lowest level for any single year since 1980.
“While firearms offences are rare, we know that just one such incident can have a devastating impact on victims and the wider community, so we are determined to continue working with our partners to reduce these numbers.
“Having successfully lobbied to have the relevant powers devolved to the Scottish Parliament, we are the only part of Great Britain to licence air weapons – ensuring that only those with a legitimate need have lawful access to them.
“Since our licensing legislation was passed in 2015-16 offences involving an air weapon have fallen by a third. This is testament to the hard work of Police Scotland, and partners, in introducing the new licensing regime.”
Assistant Chief Constable Steve Johnson, lead for specialist crime and intelligence, said: “We welcome the fact that firearms offences are at a historic low.
“Protecting the public is at the heart of everything we do and we are committed to reducing serious and violent crime which blights our communities.
“Our officers work tirelessly to reduce the number of firearms on our streets and remove these weapons from the hands of criminals.
“We are doing all we can to tackle serious and organised crime, and work with a range of partners to disrupt the illegal activities of these groups.”