THE number of homicide "cases" in Glasgow has dropped from 40 a year to 15 in less than a decade.

One Glasgow MSP said the new figure was further evidence the city was shaking off its "murder capital of Europe" tag.

Across Scotland homicide cases – which can involve one or more victim – are down, as are the number of actual victims.

But Glasgow MSP Sandra White seized on the dramatic reduction in figures for the number of cases and the number of killings.

She said. "These figures represent a dramatic improvement across Scotland – and nowhere more so than in Glasgow, where 2011-12 has seen the lowest number of murders for many years.

"One murder in Glasgow and Scotland is one too many, but these new figures do at least show a positive trend.

"But it is vital that we remember behind each of these figures are victims and grieving families. There is no room for complacency despite crime being at its lowest level for 37 years."

Glasgow had 40 homicide cases in 2002-2003 and 15 in 2011-12.

There were 51 homicide cases in the Strathclyde Police force area in 2011-12, including a triple murder in Helensburgh. That was down from 78 in 2002-03.

Last month, the Evening Times series of Crime On Your Street articles used raw police figures to find there were 20 homicides in Glasgow, of which 14 were murders and six culpable homicides.

However, the Scottish Government's most recent figures do not include culpable homicide cases involving road traffic offences.

Overall, violent crime continues to decline in Glasgow, helping to drive down nationwide statistics.

Scotland lags well behind other northern European nations in homicides, with the Baltic nations of Lithuania, Estonia and Finland – where gun laws are looser than here – heading the EU's league table.

Figures released yesterday also show almost all homicide victims know their killer. In half of all solved homicide cases involving women – 18 – the killer was a partner or former partner.

the real problem with Scotland's variety of statistics on killings is that we use different definitions of homicide.

In June the Scottish Government said there had been 121 homicides in 2011-12, as the Evening Times reported in the summer.

Yesterday, the Government reduced that figure to 88 homicide "cases" involving 90 homicide victims.

How? It removed all culpable homicides caused by dangerous or careless driving from the statistics.

So what exactly is the Government counting?

The answer: all murders and all culpable homicides not as a result of road traffic accidents.