Argyll and West Dunbartonshire Records Change in Policing Needs as Restrictions Ease

Semper Vigilo. Always Watchful. Police officers are called into assist at every emegency as they were at this one in Edinburgh on Wednesday. Picture by Bill Heaney

By Bill Heaney

Anti-social behaviour, disorder, public nuisance, neighbour disputes and noise complaints reduced significantly according to figures released by Police Scotland.

Fire-raising and malicious mischief offences are also down against the same reporting period and there are 28 fewer crimes of housebreaking, including attempts.

There is a marginal increase in sexual crimes, up six compared to last year while non-sexual crimes of violence are up by 21 and reflect the national picture which reveals both the highest number of reported sexual crimes and detections over the last six years.

Common assaults are up by 95 but down five against emergency workers and recorded incidents of breach of the peace are down significantly from 564 to 442 against the same period.

Divisional Commander for Argyll and West Dunbartonshire, Chief Superintendent John Paterson said: “We are seeing some significant changes in the policing needs of our communities now that Covid restrictions have eased.

“This reporting period was always going to reveal stark changes compared to this time last year when some of the strictest measures were in place.

“Despite an increase across the country, we know sexual offending remains under-reported and I encourage victims to come forward. As restrictions continue to ease we anticipate that reports of sexual crime will continue to rise.”

While the national picture shows that overall reported violent crime remains slightly below the five-year average at 2.1%, it has increased markedly against the same period last year which saw substantial reductions on historic figures during the first period of lockdown.

Across the country, fatal road traffic collisions and 999 calls during the period were all significantly higher than between April and June 2020, when the first lockdown had been recently introduced and during which some of the strictest Covid measures were in place.

During the quarter, Police Scotland received 174,531 emergency 999 calls, up 22.9% on the same period last year (141,960) with an average call answer time of 6 seconds. The number of 101 calls received was 491,976, down 5.8% on the same period last year (522,261) and with an average call answer time of 3 minutes 25 seconds.

Deputy Chief Constable Fiona Taylor QPM., left,  said: “We have seen an increase in the total number of calls we handle, with a notable increase in 999 contacts. Maintaining 999 answer call times against this increase has resulted in longer answer periods for 101 contacts.

“I am grateful to the dedicated officers and staff within our Contact, Command and Control (C3) Division who have worked throughout the pandemic and continue to prioritise emergency calls, to ensure most vulnerable and at risk get the help they need and deserve.”

The Performance Report will be presented at the Scottish Police Authority Policing Performance Committee on Wednesday, 1 September.

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