COMMUNITY: Report highlights demanding time for policing in Scotland

By Bill Heaney

Police officers and civilian staff responded to an intense and demanding period during the second quarter of 2022-23, a new report has underlined.

The report highlights Police Scotland’s response following the death of Her Majesty The Queen, with around 4,000 officers deployed on 11 September and significant deployments throughout the Operation Unicorn Period.

The report also outlines an increase in fatal road traffic collisions, low levels of homicides and serious assaults and highlights Police Scotland’s law enforcement and public health response to drug deaths and harm.

Deputy Chief Constable Fiona Taylor QPM, left,  said: “It was with great sadness we learned of the death of Her Majesty The Queen in September and Police Scotland and its officers had an important role to play to ensure the significant ceremonial events across the country were delivered safely and with dignity.

“Officers and staff from every local policing division and operational department were deployed to support the national operation and I would like to take the opportunity to acknowledge their contribution.”

The report also outlines 97 fatalities on Scotland’s roads between April and September 2022 – an increase compared to the same period last year and compared to the five-year average.

DCC Taylor said: “Each of these fatalities is a tragedy. Reducing the number of road casualties is a priority and we work alongside the Scottish Government, Transport Scotland and others to do so.

“We have dedicated patrols on key routes to tackle dangerous driving and respond to community concerns. We are running our annual festive drink and drug drive campaign where our officers will be stopping drivers across the country to help make our roads safer.”

The report published today, Friday, 2 December 2022, outlines progress on the national roll-out of the life-saving nasal spray Naloxone while also illustrating action to disrupt organised crime groups including:

• A man being arrested in connection with the large scale distribution of cocaine throughout the West of Scotland and around £800,000 of the Class A drug being recovered

• In Dumfries three men being arrested after warrants were executed and cannabis and amphetamine, with a total street value of £60,000, were seized

• A cannabis cultivation of more than 1,000 plants worth £800,000 was discovered within a disused school building in Kilmarnock

• A man driving in the vicinity of Lockerbie was found to be in possession of herbal cannabis with a street value £100,000.

Figures in the report show that the numbers of crimes reported have returned to pre-pandemic levels.

Overall violent crime remains in line year on year and with the five-year average however homicides and serious assaults are lower. Detection rates for both homicide and attempted murder continue to be very high.

A rise in non-sexual violent crimes continues to be driven by offences committed under the Domestic Abuse Scotland Act, as well as those involving threats and extortion and drugging.

DCC Taylor said: “Murders are iconic crimes that have a significant impact on community confidence in policing. Since our inception, Police Scotland has driven a consistently high standard of homicide investigation, underpinned by empathy, compassion and justice.”

Acquisitive crime, particularly theft, has increased, although the number of detections for these crimes has also increased significantly and the number of housebreakings remains low.

Police Scotland’s Performance Reports provide evidence of progress against strategic outcomes set out in our Annual Police Plan, using management information and context to provide insight into our response, challenges and success.

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