Crime figures buck trend and show rise

Chief Constable Kevin Smith
Chief Constable Kevin Smith

The crime rate across Central Scotland has edged up. During the last 12 months 16,840 offences were committed, a rise of 0.7 per cent.

Despite the increase, figures are still below three year averages and Central Scotland Police Force’s detection rate of 58.8 per cent is still well above the Scottish norm.

Reported crimes of violence and dishonesty went up by 17 per cent and five per cent respectively during the year, but vandalism, which accounts for a quarter of all crime, fell by five per cent and anti-social behaviour by 12 per cent. There was also a welcome drop in cases of indecency and malicious mischief while motoring offences were down by nearly eight per cent. Over the year 227 drug dealers were reported to the Procurator Fiscal as part of the continued crackdown on the sale of illegal drugs on the streets.

Crimes across the Falkirk area command went up by 1.2 per cent overall compared with an increase of 1.6 in Clackmannanshire and a fall of 0.8 per cent in Stirling.

Chief Constable Kevin Smith spells out the details in his annual report.

He stressed the figures viewed over the longer term should provide reassurance to the public that Forth Valley remains a generally low-crime area and Central Scotland Police has maintained its impressive record of tracking down criminals and detecting crime.

Despite having to work against a backdrop of managing demand for the service in the face of growing financial pressures, he insisted the “strong operational performance” should reassure communities their police force remains fit for purpose.

The Chief Constable said: “Over the year the force, working with the public and our partners, maintained extremely high levels of performance to deliver excellent policing to the communities of Central Scotland ensuring public confidence in their police force is enhanced.

“I am pleased to report the overall detection rate, although a slight reduction on the previous year, remains well about the national average and the total number of crimes recorded across each of the five main categories increased by less than one per cent compared to 2009-10. We also carried out a number of successful operations against organised crime groups and we also took steps to strip criminals of their profits.”

On the future, the Chief Constable said that despite losing staff and experienced officers due to the enforced financial cutbacks, his force remains committed to reducing as few posts as possible.

Clackmannanshire Councillor George Matchett, convener of Central Scotland Joint Police Board, said: “Central Scotland Police is a force which consistently delivers a very high standard of service in everything it does. The Chief Constable and all his officers and staff are extremely focussed on serving the communities of Forth Valley ensuring they are as safe as they can be.

“The people of Clackmannanshire, Falkirk and Stirling can have confidence in their police board to ensure ‘local accountability’ is high on the agenda which in turn assists the Chief Constable is setting the strategy and objectives of the force.

He went on: “I’m pleased that performance has remained strong this year and our priority is to make sure the communities of Central Scotland continue to receive the best possible policing.”