Hospital assault stats reveal true extent of violence

6 Oct 2013

Margaret Mitchell MSP

Hospital statistics on people who have been assaulted differ significantly from those published by police, it has emerged.

Figures obtained by the Scottish Conservatives have revealed while Police Scotland said there were around 3,000 serious assaults last year, hospitals treated nearly 8,700.

The conflicting data – which reveals a gap of 5,464 assaults – comes as the SNP boasts of record-low crime levels.

A Freedom of Information request by the Scottish Conservatives revealed that 8,690 people went through hospital doors in 2012/13 suffering from a range of injuries stemming from assault.

But in its response, Police Scotland said it had only record of 3,226 serious assaults, along with several thousand minor incidents.

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde treated by far the most assault cases (5,392), followed by Fife (1,396) and Lothian (606).

Orkney and the Western Isles had the lowest number of assault patients, with five and 14 respectively.

The Scottish Conservatives have said that rather than tinker with legislation, the Scottish Government should ensure those guilty of assaulting emergency workers are dealt with more severely by the courts.

Scottish Conservative justice spokeswoman Margaret Mitchell MSP said:

“It’s no wonder the SNP is able to point to record low crime levels when there’s such a disparity between what is being recorded, and what is actually happening.

“Anyone who is forced to go to hospital as the result of an attack can certainly consider themselves victim of a serious incident in the form of an assault.

“So the fact our NHS has statistics showing assault rates to be more than twice as frequent as the police do is alarming.

“The Scottish Government is always quick to say when a crime statistic worsens, it is a result of improved reporting by police.

“With that in mind, I’d be interested to see what the explanation is for this chasm between the actual incidents taking place and what police are recording.

“We know the SNP will say and do anything to paint a rosy picture of its performance in government, but this is coming at the expense of more than 5000 assaults they’ve deemed not worthy of mentioning.”



Below is the total number of serious assaults recorded by police in 2012/13, compared to the number of assaults recorded by health boards:
Police Scotland – 3,226 serious assaults
NHS Ayrshire and Arran – 385
NHS Borders – 42
NHS Dumfries and Galloway – 70
NHS Fife – 1,396
NHS Forth Valley – 84
NHS Grampian – 349
NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde – 5,393
NHS Highland – 17
NHS Lanarkshire – 332
NHS Lothian – 606
NHS Orkney – 5
NHS Shetland – 16
NHS Tayside – 251
NHS Western Isles – 14
All NHS boards – 8,690
Difference between Police Scotland figures and NHS figures – 5,464
For a copies of individual FoI responses, contact the Scottish Conservative press office.