Scottish crime at 35 year low

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ACCORDING to figures released by the Scottish Government earlier this week, there were 3,743 reported crimes in the Scottish Borders in the last year, with 56 per cent of these cleared up by Lothian and Borders Police, seven per cent higher than the national average.

Nationwide, reported crime fell to its lowest level since 1976, with the 323,000 crimes recorded in 2010-11 representing a four per cent reduction on last year’s result.

There was also a six per cent drop in the number of offences committed nationwide.

The Lothian and Borders Force area had a total of 60,167 recorded crimes and 75,567 offences with crimes of dishonesty and motor vehicle offences (52,083) producing the highest results.

Breaking this down further to council area, of the 3,743 recorded crimes in Scottish Borders Council’s patch, the majority, following the Force trend, were crimes of dishonesty (1,527) with the figures for fire raising and vandalism also high at 1,159.

The category which produced the lowest result was crimes of indecency with 108 being committed in 2010-11.

Other results for the Borders included 133 non-sexual crimes of violence and 818 categorised as ‘other crimes’.

The national downturn in crime was heartily welcomed by Justice Secretary Kenny Mackaskill who also welcomed Police Quarterly Strength figures published this week, showing that as at June 30, 2011, there were 17,339 police officers (full-time equivalent) in Scotland, including 2,926 in the Lothian and Borders - 1,105 more nationally than there were in March 2007.

He coomented: “These figures are further good news for Scotland, the sixth year in a row where recorded crime has fallen - to a 35-year low - and with police numbers remaining well above our pledge to put 1,000 extra officers on our streets.

“The statistics we have seen this year show Scotland is becoming safer - crime is down, fear of crime is down, the number of people carrying out crime is down, and those who do break the law are being punished swiftly by Scotland’s justice system.

“However, we are pledged to do everything we can to keep bringing these numbers down, because crime remains too high.

“Police the length and breadth of Scotland are to be congratulated on their work to prevent and detect crime and catch criminals and I am particularly pleased to see the clear up rate for violent crime is now at its highest level in 35 years.

“It is no coincidence that recorded crime continues to fall at a time when police officer numbers are strong and we will build on this as we move forward with our police reform plans to protect local policing and improve access to the very best specialist expertise whenever and wherever it is needed.”