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Highlands and Islands crime rates show region is one of 'safest' places to live in Scotland, say police

By Philip Murray

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Police Scotland news.
Police Scotland news.

CRIME rates in the Highlands remain among the lowest in the country, Police Scotland has claimed ahead of the publication of its latest performance report.

Its latest report, which covers most of the pandemic lockdown up to April this year, will be presented to the Scottish Police Authority’s policing performance committee next week.

And the force said it will highlight that the Highlands and Islands enjoy "one of the lowest rates of recorded crime in Scotland and one of the highest detection rates in the country" of more than 70 per cent.

However, on a national level, it will also reveal that domestic abuse and child sex abuse rose sharply during the pandemic lockdown, while fraud also shot up "exponentially".

Child sex abuse crimes were up 24.9 per cent nationally when compared to the five year average, with almost 2000 such offences recorded over the latest report's time period. Domestic abuse was also up 8.2 per cent.

Some 434 children in Scotland were also safeguarded through the enforcement of National Online Child Abuse Prevention (NOCAP) packages between September and March this year, including young people in the Highlands & Islands following the execution of several successful warrants across the Division.

Divisional Commander Chief Superintendent Conrad Trickett said: “Overall, our crime rate remains one of the lowest in Scotland while public confidence in policing in the Highlands and Islands also increased by eleven percentage points in the last year.

"We have been extremely grateful for the cooperation shown by the vast majority of the public during such an extraordinary period, and I can provide every assurance that our aim remains providing support, visibility and reassurance to all our communities.”

Ch Spt Trickett continued: “The past year has been challenging for everyone, and from the very beginning of lockdown Police Scotland urged the public to let us know if they were concerned about a potential victim of crime, or if they were a victim themselves.

“Sadly home is not a safe place for everyone, and we have been working closely with our partners throughout the year to ensure victims were identified and given appropriate support and protection.

"Identifying victims of domestic abuse has been key, with an 8.2 per cent increase in reported incidents, while crimes such as fraud – which has increased exponentially across Scotland – and online child sexual abuse remain priorities for policing. We will continue to work with our colleagues nationally to build capacity and capability to keep people safe in the virtual world.”

The 2020-21 Q4 Performance Report will be presented to the Scottish Police Authority’s policing performance committee on June 8. The Performance Report and Management information can be found by clicking here.

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