With regard to victims, witnesses and suspects, Police Scotland and the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service record incidents according to a person’s self-identified gender. Police Scotland requires no evidence or certification as proof of gender identity other than a person’s self-declaration, unless—it is important to emphasise this—it is pertinent to any criminal investigation with which they are linked and it is evidentially critical that Police Scotland legally requires such proof.
I thank the cabinet secretary for that answer, but I think that many people will be shocked to hear it. He will be aware that offending rates vary significantly according to biological sex, with males accounting for 84 per cent of violent crime and more than 95 per cent of sexual crime.
Longitudinal studies elsewhere suggest that male-pattern offending remains the same even if men self-declare themselves to be women. Does the cabinet secretary agree with criminologists that, if data shows a rise in female sex offending, for example, including rape, that is misleading when those crimes are actually committed by men?
I will try to give the member some reassurance. Of course, I would be happy to see the longitudinal studies that she mentions. I have to say that I meet criminologists regularly and none of them has raised this issue with me, but I am happy to look at any studies that exist.
If we should have an unexpected result, such as a rise in the number of women being recorded as committing sexual offences, we would, of course, investigate that further. However, I would say that the statistic that the member quotes—men accounting for 96 per cent of sexual crime—is, in itself, evidence that there is certainly not a pattern of behaviour of those who are born biologically male self-identifying as women to either commit sexual offences or manipulate statistics.
If the member would like to provide me with details of those studies, she can, and if she would like to have discussions with criminologists, as I regularly do, I am happy to explore the issue further in detail.