Forth Valley Management Information data published
Published 25 May 2020
Police in Forth Valley have praised the courage of domestic abuse victims in coming forward, as latest figures show increases in reports of this nature.
Police Scotland’s Performance Report, introduced by Deputy Chief Constable Fiona Taylor, and Q4 Management Information data for 1 April, 2019 to 31 March, 2020 has been published today.
Across Stirlingshire, Clackmannanshire and Falkirk, the total number of domestic related incidents rose by almost seven per cent, in comparison to the same time last year. This equates to 222 more reports.
The Domestic Abuse Scotland Act, which created a single offence covering the full range of abusive behaviours whether physical, psychological, financial or sexual, was brought into effect last year. This has resulted in 98 offences being reported under the new Act, which is responsible for the rise in overall violent crime observed within the division.
Another priority within the division is to tackle public space violence and local policing teams regularly provide a visible presence within their communities to deter crimes of violence.
As a result, serious assaults have fallen by six per cent, meaning 13 fewer incidents, while minor assaults are also down by four per cent, or 149 reports.
Given the geographical location of the division, it has often been targeted by crime groups who travel in and out of the region in order to commit various acquisitive crimes and tackling this issue remains a priority.
Overall housebreaking crimes, including attempted break-ins have risen by almost 40 offences, with the main targets being sheds, garages and other outbuildings.
However, Forth Valley has seen significant success in reducing overall vehicle crime, which saw 52 fewer offences than the previous year.
Furthermore, shoplifting crimes have also decreased by over 200 reports, representing a 13 per cent reduction.
Across Scotland the national figures show a 31 per cent rise in fraud offences and in Forth Valley there has been a rise from 444 last year to 611 this year.
Officers from Police Scotland's Economic Crime Unit continue to work alongside banks and other companies to help reduce the number of victims being scammed and the Banking Protocol, which came into place in Scotland in March 2018, continues to prevent millions of pounds being lost to fraudsters.
Another area of proactivity for officers in the division is tackling weapon offences and the number of people found to be carrying a weapon, including a knife has risen by 37 per cent.
Stop and search is one of a number of tools utilised by local officers within the region to ensure weapons are removed from our streets, along with those carrying them.
Road safety is extremely important for the division and Road Policing Officers monitor the range of main roads and access routes on a daily basis to identify motoring offences, educate road users and enforce road traffic legislation, when required.
The fourth quarter has seen a reduction of more than 400 road traffic offences, including speeding, use of mobile phones and failure to wear a seatbelt.
The number of road fatalities remains fairly consistent, while there has been a 10 per cent reduction in the number of serious injury collisions.
An area of continued concern, though, remains with the number of motorists caught driving while under the influence or driving while disqualified. These offences have risen by 17 per cent and 35 per cent respectively over the last 12 months.
Road Policing officers working at both a national and local level continue to support annual campaigns aimed at targeting motorists and educating them about these kinds of offences.
Chief Superintendent Alan Gibson, Divisional Commander for Forth Valley, said: "Confidence in policing and the ability for Police Scotland to conduct thorough and professional investigations is very high, and as such, previously under-reported crimes are now being reported in larger numbers.
"Domestic abuse takes a variety of forms, but in all cases, it is a deeply distressing and traumatic time for a victim and so for those who have reported abuse, I wish to thank them personally for their bravery. I want to echo the comments of DCC Taylor and assure those living in an environment of abuse that if you need our support or intervention, we are here for you.
"Make no mistake that we recognise the need for improvement in terms of tackling acquisitive crime, including housebreaking. On a daily basis we work with neighbouring divisions to identify groups who may be travelling to and from our area and with the assistance of specialist national resources, we will conduct intelligence-led enforcement activity on these individuals. Forth Valley will not be a soft target for acquisitive crime offenders.
"It is, however, really encouraging to see crimes such serious assault, vehicle crime and shoplifting all reduce and I want to thank my officers, and our various partners, who play a visible role in communities, both during the day, and while the public enjoy the night-time economies in our towns.
“Campaigns such as Operation Steadfast and Don't Be a Bystander help promote safe public spaces and ensure that crimes are reported to us quickly, so we can respond accordingly.
"One thing I cannot stress enough, is the zero tolerance approach we have and will continue to have towards those who drive under the influence. I am deeply disappointed that these incidents are on the rise and Road Policing Officers will be increasing their scrutiny of the road network as a result. To be clear, if you opt to get behind the wheel while drunk or on drugs, it is extremely likely we will catch you and you will be arrested. Thereafter, you will lose your licence and gain a criminal record. Please don't risk it.
"I am, though, very pleased to see that other motoring offences such as speeding, using a mobile and not wearing a seatbelt have reduced considerably and I thank the public for their support with this matter.
"These figures do not support the true extent of outstanding police activity within the division. Of course more can and will be done, but I wish to thank all officers and staff within Forth Valley for their continued dedication and professionalism."
Please note, the Q4 report contains Management Information figures and these are not official statistics.