Crime detection rates and public confidence in policing increase in Highland and Islands
Detection rates for crimes in the Highland and Islands increased during the first quarter of 2020-21, while public confidence in policing has increased by 20 percentage points during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Q1 Performance figures 2020-21 released today – which cover the period April to June –highlight an increased detection rate of 69.5% compared to nearly 66% during the same period in 2019-20. Total crime figures have also remained static (2,182 incidents compared to 2,188 last year) ensuring the region remains one of the safest places in Scotland.
High-visibility patrols and enhanced community engagement have been absolutely key during the past few months to support our communities, while we continue to work closely alongside our partners to identify and support those most vulnerable. The potential for suppressed vulnerability remains a priority for policing and we continue to urge communities to keep an eye on those at potential risk and to raise any concerns to police or partners.
The local figures come as Police Scotland published its Q1 Performance Report, with a foreword by Deputy Chief Constable Fiona Taylor, showing that public confidence has increased during the pandemic.
Chief Superintendent Conrad Trickett, divisional commander, said: “This reporting period has covered an unprecedented time for Scotland therefore it comes as no surprise to see a local rise in some categories, such as anti-social behaviour – 3,150 incidents were reported during the same period last year in comparison to 5,521 this year, of which the majority were linked to calls from the public over suspected breaches of COVID-19 regulations. However, as DCC Fiona Taylor has made clear, this has been an extraordinary time therefore care must be taken to avoid assumptions around trends in all categories.
“The rise in fraud crimes - from 70 to 139 – is of great concern as fraudsters adapt well-known techniques to exploit vulnerable people and businesses during a challenging time. Online, banking and romance frauds, as well as bogus callers, are still of great concern to Police Scotland, with the addition of scammers now preying on people’s fears about coronavirus. We remain vigilant to these types of despicable crimes and will continue to work alongside our partners and other organisations to provide alerts and publicise preventative messages across our channels and within local communities. I ask the public to remain extremely vigilant and keep an eye on those more vulnerable – please visit the Police Scotland website for further information and advice.”
Proactive activity has also been key to ensuring the safety of our roads during the various stages of restrictions, with local officers alongside Roads Policing undertaking enhanced patrols across the region. While the overall number of Group 7 crimes reduced significantly (2,409 during the same period last year compared to 1,514 this year) drink/drug drive offences increased from 107 to 194 due to the increased use of drug-drive detection kits.
Chief Superintendent Trickett said: “Any offence on our roads is extremely disappointing, particularly at a time when we should all have been playing our part to avoid putting additional pressure on the emergency services. However thanks to proactive patrols and support from the Road Policing Division, Police Scotland has stopped a number of drink/drug drivers and will continue to take this robust action. Information from the public is vital to help us target drivers who put others at risk and I encourage people to report such unacceptable driving behaviour to us.”
He added: “I would like to take this chance to thank the public once again for your support – our police officers, staff and Special Constables have worked tirelessly throughout the ongoing health pandemic to support our communities who, in turn, have shown us overwhelming support. Our approach to local restrictions has reflected the consistent approach taken by Police Scotland since the outset of this pandemic - engaging, educating and encouraging people to comply, as we all support the public health efforts to stop the spread of the virus.”