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Recorded crime rises in north-east as Covid impact lessens

By David Porter

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The number of recorded crimes in the north-east rose during the first quarter of 2021-22 compared to the same period last year latest figures show.

Changes to the pandemic restrictions have had an impact on the policing needs of communities and the figures published in Police Scotland’s latest Performance Report, show anticipated rises in reported crimes such as violence, sexual crimes and road traffic offences.

Divisional commander George Macdonald said: “Last year was unprecedented for us all and the figures from the latest report show that the pandemic continues to influence the policing needs of our communities.

“During the first quarter of 2021-22 we have seen an increase in the number of offences recorded in relation to the supply of drugs as we continue to focus our efforts to try and reduce the harm that controlled drugs create in our communities across the north-east.

“We continue to see an increase in reported domestic abuse, sexual crimes and wider vulnerability, however we know these incidents remain under-reported and I want to encourage people to come forward.

"We acknowledge that the home is not always a safe place for everyone and we continue to work alongside our colleagues in national specialist units and our partners to detect cases of domestic abuse, violence, sexual crimes and provide support to victims and their families.

“As restrictions continue to ease, it is to be expected that reported crimes will continue to rise as we enjoy more freedoms in comparison to last year.

"I want to urge motorists to be safe on the roads and to play their part in making the roads a safer place for all users, particularly as we see increasing levels of vehicles following the easing of lockdown travel restrictions.

“The officers and staff working across the north-east are as committed as ever to keeping our communities safe and to delivering a more effective public service and I want to thank them for their continued efforts.”

The Performance Report will be presented at the Scottish Police Authority Policing Performance Committee on Wednesday, 1 September.

At a national level overall reported violent crime, fatal road traffic collisions and 999 calls during the period were all significantly higher than between April and June 2020, when the first lockdown had been recently introduced and during which some of the strictest Covid measures were in place.

The reporting period also noted the highest number of reported sexual crimes and detections over the last six years, with increases in non-recent crime and recent crime driving the overall rise.

Meanwhile, anti-social behaviour, disorder, public nuisance, neighbour disputes and noise complaints all saw substantial reductions compared to the first lockdown period.

Deputy chief constable Fiona Taylor said: “While restrictions relating to the pandemic continue to have an impact on the policing needs of our communities, the effect is different compared to the same period last year, when the first lockdown had only recently been introduced and the most stringent measures were in place.

“While overall reported violent crime remains slightly below the five-year average, it has increased significantly compared to the same period last year, during which we saw substantial reductions on historic figures.

“Despite significant increases, we know sexual offending remains under-reported and I encourage victims to come forward. As restrictions, particularly relating to increased social interactions, continue to ease it is anticipated that reports of sexual crime will continue to rise.”

During the quarter, Police Scotland received 174,531 emergency 999 calls, up 22.9 per cent on the same period last year (141,960) with an average call answer time of six seconds.

The number of 101 calls received was 491,976, down 5.8 per cent on the same period last year (522,261) and with an average call answer time of 3 minutes 25 seconds.

DCC Taylor added: “We have seen an increase in the total number of calls we handle, with a notable increase in 999 contacts.

"Maintaining 999 answer call times against this increase has resulted in longer answer periods for 101 contacts."

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