CRIME: Total crimes drops across Argyll and Bute and West Dunbartonshire

Always Watchful – motto of police officers in West Dunbartonshire.

By Democrat reporter

Total crimes and offences are down across Argyll and Bute and West Dunbartonshire, with non-sexual crimes of violence down by 15%.

Crimes of dishonesty have also seen a significant drop and 32 fewer rapes have been recorded compared with the same period last year – a reduction of 40%.

Following the introduction of a Divisional Problem Solving Team, more bladed and offensive weapons have been taken off local streets.

Chief Superintendent John Paterson, commander of Argyll and West Dunbartonshire Division, said: “We know the pandemic is impacting policing demand, but the hard work of officers, staff and our partners has made a direct contribution to making Argyll and Bute and West Dunbartonshire safer places to live and work.

“Common assaults are down by more than 100 and crimes of dishonesty are down by 234.

Deputy Chief Constable Fiona Taylor and Chief Superintendent John Paterson, commander of Argyll and West Dunbartonshire Division.

However, we have seen a concerning rise in crimes relating to the communication and disclosure of indecent images, a majority of which involve young people.  I would appeal to parents, and those who look after children and young people, to speak with them about this.  We need to make sure that the use of the Internet and digital devices are as safe as possible.

“We have recorded an increase in fraud from 176 cases to 303.  Fraud remains a national and local priority and we will continue to police in virtual spaces and maximise our specialist capability to protect people from such activity.  However, I would also ask members of the public to take all steps possible to protect themselves from unscrupulous individuals who seek to exploit safe use of the Internet and connected devices”.

The 2020-21 Quarter 3 Performance Report has been published on the Scottish Police Authority website ahead of a public meeting of the Authority’s Policing Performance Committee on Tuesday, 9 March, 2021. Associated Management Information is available on the Police Scotland website.

The data shows overall recorded crimes (groups 1-5) are down from 187,334 during the same period last year to 174,999 while detection rates are up from 52.1% to 56.5%.

However, increases are noted in some specific offences, including domestic abuse (up 1.8%), online child sexual abuse (up 13.4%) and fraud (up 43.4%).

Deputy Chief Constable Fiona Taylor said: “The public health crisis continues to influence the needs of our communities, however it may be years before we fully understand the impact of coronavirus on crime and policing demand in Scotland.”

Meanwhile,  Police Scotland received an additional 25,000 calls between April and December compared to the same period the previous year, taking the total number of 999 and 101 contacts to almost 2 million during the first three-quarters of 2020-21.

The number of 999 calls received reduced by 5.1% from 488,420 to 463,457 but 101 calls increased from 1,479,901 to 1,529,861 (3.4%).

That means the total number of 999 and 101 calls increased by 24,997 from 1,968,321 to 1,993,318, up 1.3% from the same period in 2019-20.

The figures are outlined in Police Scotland’s 2020-21 Quarter 3 Performance Report which is published today. The report also shows 999 calls were prioritised and answered within 8 seconds on average, while 101 calls had a 2 minute 37 second average answer time.

A total of 1,237,689 incidents were recorded during the period, a reduction of 4.7% on the same period in 2019-20 (1,298,431) with reductions in concern for person and missing people incidents.

However, large increases in incidents of public nuisance (up from 56,936 to 123,979 or 117.8%), neighbour disputes (16,021 to 22,930 or 43.1%) and noise complaints (43,288 to 51,277 or 18.5%) were attributed to the challenges of coronavirus.

DCC Taylor said: “Officers and staff continue to play a key role in the national effort to combat the spread of coronavirus, while they face the same personal and professional challenges as their fellow citizens

“There has been an increase in the number of calls from members of the public during this period and the dedicated team within our Contact, Command and Control (C3) Division continues to provide an essential service to our communities in difficult circumstances.

“Our service centres are operating successfully with reduced capacity due to physical distancing requirements, while also coping with increased call demand from the public seeking guidance on coronavirus related issues.

“While some callers using the 101 non-emergency number have had to wait longer than normal to have their call answered during this time, emergency 999 calls are prioritised and I am grateful to the officers and staff for their commitment to public service.

“As the Chief Constable has made clear, the Police Service of Scotland will always be here to help the public who we serve.”

The 2020-21 Quarter 3 Performance Report has been published on the Scottish Police Authority website ahead of a public meeting of the Authority’s Policing Performance Committee on Tuesday, 9 March, 2021. Associated Management Information is available on the Police Scotland website.

The data shows overall recorded crimes (groups 1-5) are down from 187,334 during the same period last year to 174,999 while detection rates are up from 52.1% to 56.5%.

However, increases are noted in some specific offences, including domestic abuse (up 1.8%), online child sexual abuse (up 13.4%) and fraud (up 43.4%).

Domestic abuser figures are on the increase, according to a new report from Police Scotland.

DCC Taylor said: “The public health crisis continues to influence the needs of our communities, however it may be years before we fully understand the impact of coronavirus on crime and policing demand in Scotland.

“More generally, while there has been a reduction in overall crime in recent years, we have seen a shift to more serious offences and increasingly complex and resource-intensive investigations.

“Policing must continue to enhance our specialist capacity and capability to protect the people of Scotland from threat, harm and risk in the public, private and virtual spaces.”

Ends

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