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Crime detection rates increase in the Highlands and Islands during Covid-19 lockdown

By Gregor White

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Chief Superintendent Conrad Trickett.
Chief Superintendent Conrad Trickett.

Detection rates for crimes in the Highlands and Islands increased during the first quarter of 2020-21 as public confidence in policing also increased during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Performance figures for April to June released today show an increased detection rate of 69.5 per cent compared to nearly 66 per cent during the same period last year.

Total crime figures have remained virtually static, with 2182 incidents compared to 2188 last year.

Police Scotland said high-visibility patrols and enhanced community engagement have been key during the past few months to support communities, alongside work with partners to identify and support those most vulnerable.

Divisional commander Chief Superintendent Conrad Trickett said: "This reporting period has covered an unprecedented time for Scotland, therefore it comes as no surprise to see a local rise in some categories, such as anti-social behaviour – 3150 incidents were reported during the same period last year in comparison to 5521 this year – of which the majority were linked to calls from the public over suspected breaches of Covid-19 regulations.

"The rise in fraud crimes – from 70 to 139 – is of great concern as fraudsters adapt well-known techniques to exploit vulnerable people and businesses during a challenging time.

"Online, banking and romance frauds, as well as bogus callers, are still of great concern to Police Scotland, with the addition of scammers now preying on people’s fears about coronavirus.

"We remain vigilant to these types of despicable crimes and will continue to work alongside our partners and other organisations to provide alerts and publicise preventative messages across our channels and within local communities.

"I ask the public to remain extremely vigilant and keep an eye on those more vulnerable – please visit the Police Scotland website for further information and advice."

The overall number of motor vehicle offences reduced significantly (2409 during the same period last year compared to 1514 this year) but drink/drug drive offences increased from 107 to 194 which the police credit to the increased use of drug-drive detection kits.

Chief Superintendent Trickett said: "Any offence on our roads is extremely disappointing, particularly at a time when we should all have been playing our part to avoid putting additional pressure on the emergency services.

"However, thanks to proactive patrols and support from the road policing division, Police Scotland has stopped a number of drink/drug drivers and will continue to take this robust action.

"Information from the public is vital to help us target drivers who put others at risk and I encourage people to report such unacceptable driving behaviour to us."

He added: "I would like to take this chance to thank the public once again for your support – our police officers, staff and special constables have worked tirelessly throughout the ongoing health pandemic to support our communities who, in turn, have shown us overwhelming support.

"Our approach to local restrictions has reflected the consistent approach taken by Police Scotland since the outset of this pandemic – engaging, educating and encouraging people to comply, as we all support the public health efforts to stop the spread of the virus."

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