Chief Superintendent John Paterson, Depute Chief Constable Fiona Taylor and police officers in action.
By Democrat reporter
The dedication of officers and staff, and the support of partners, during lockdown has been acknowledged by Argyll and West Dunbartonshire’s most senior police officer.
Management Information figures show that between the start of April and the end of June 2020, the division saw a decrease in the overall number of crimes recorded and a slight increase in detection rates.
Chief Superintendent John Paterson, Argyll and West Dunbartonshire Divisional Commander, said: “While I welcome the overall reduction in crime and positive detection rates in what has been a challenging period for everyone, as DCC Taylor has said today, it is too early to draw any conclusions about long-term crime trends.
“Officers and staff right across the Division continued to work hard to deliver the best possible service to help keep our communities safe during the pandemic. We are not able to do this alone and I am grateful for the support of the public and our partners, including those in the 3rd sector.”
The figures are contained in Police Scotland’s Management Information figures which inform the Q1 Performance Report, introduced by Deputy Chief Constable Fiona Taylor, which also show that public confidence in policing was up by 20 percentage points during the first quarter of 2020/2021.
Proactive action by Argyll and West Dunbartonshire officers saw more than double the number of offensive weapons being seized and the number of people being found in possession of drugs increase, compared to the same period in 2019.
Officers seized 25 offensive weapons – an increase of 13 from the previous year’s figure of 12 (108%). The number of offences for being in possession of drugs increased from 364 to 439 or 21%.
Chief Superintendent Paterson added: “Police Scotland remains absolutely committed to taking weapons off our streets and targeting those who exploit the most vulnerable people in our communities by dealing in drugs remains a priority.”
The number of people detected for being under the influence of drink or drugs while driving went up – from 58 to 104 (79%) – “There may have been fewer cars on the roads however, Police Scotland officers remained on proactive patrols throughout the coronavirus pandemic. It is disappointing that there are still drivers who risk their own life and the lives of others by driving under the influence of drink or drugs. The devastating impact of drink and drug driving on victims, communities and drivers themselves cannot be understated.”
As criminals, particularly in the digital and cyber spaces, took advantage of the pandemic to exploit victims, the number of fraud offences also rose from 52 to 93 or 78.8%.
Chief Superintendent Paterson urged the public to remain vigilant. He said: “During this extraordinary period we saw targeted attempts by fraudsters to adapt well-known techniques to include references to COVID and we continue to work with all our partners and pursue those who set out to cause harm.”