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29 September 2015, 13:12
The number of murder or culpable homicide cases in Scotland fell to a new record low last year, figures show.
There were 59 killings reported to police in 2014/15, one less than the previous low of 60 in the previous 12 months.
It was the lowest annual total since current records began in 1976, the Scottish Government said.
Over the last 10 years the number of homicide cases has fallen by 36, or 38%.
Last year, 45 of the 59 victims were male, while 70 of 77 accused were also male.
The Homicide in Scotland report shows almost half of male victims were killed by an "acquaintance'', while six of the 14 female victims were killed by their partner.
Use of a sharp instrument - such as knives, broken bottles and other pointed weapons - was the most common method of killing last year and featured in the deaths of 33 people.
Published by the Scottish Government, the figures present details on homicides recorded over the last decade, including all crimes of murder and culpable homicide but do not include road deaths and corporate homicide.
Almost a quarter of cases in the last year occurred in Glasgow, where there were 14 killings.
Police Scotland welcomed the drop, but said "one victim is one too many''.
Assistant Chief Constable Malcolm Graham said: "Homicide rates are now at their lowest since recording began which means fewer victims, fewer families who have lost a loved one and fewer communities affected by this most serious of crimes.
"Since the advent of Police Scotland, every homicide committed has been detected. However, one victim is one too many and one community impacted by the aftershocks which result from such violent crime is one too many.
"We have developed a very high standard of investigating major crimes, including homicide. Our Major Investigation Team (MIT) structure means we have a strong team of experienced specialist investigators supporting local policing wherever and whenever such a crime occurs.
"MITs have delivered a consistent and professional approach to all such investigations, using specialist skills and the latest investigative techniques and technologies. This ensures flexibility and equity of service across.
"The same rigorous approach is also applied to unsolved cases. We regularly review historical investigations through the prism of today's investigative standards with the intention of bringing those responsible to justice, often many years after the crime was committed, and bringing closure to families and communities.''