Performance statistics from Western Isles Police show the number of violent crimes perpetrated locally have more than halved in just one year.
However the number of sexual offences recorded in 2013/14 has risen by 45% compared to the year before, with domestic assaults also up by 15%. Meanwhile the number of hate crimes recorded in the Isles more than doubled.
Gordon Macleod, Western Isles Chief Inspector, welcomed the drop in violent crime in the islands and put the steep rises in some figures down to increased confidence in reporting incidents such as historic sexual offences.
Referring to the 41 sexual offences recorded over the last year, which is an increase of 45% on the previous year, Chief Inspector Macleod said: “People are more confident in coming forward to report historical sexual offences. They are more confident in the way it will be dealt with.”
He said the high profile cases recently reported in the national press has also had an impact.
In regards to the number of hate crimes recorded, which has risen from five to 12 between 2012/13 and 2013/14, he explained: “People are more confident to come forward and reporting these sort of crimes, as well as having an increasing awareness of these crimes.”
On the reduction in violent offences, which fell from 23 to 11 in one year, the Chief Inspector said: “It is great to see this come down. It reassures the public this is a safe place to live. We will continue to work to reduce crime and keep people safe.”
Partnership with other agencies including the Comhairle, NHS, Ambulance Service and licenced trade organisations has been key in reducing such crimes according to Chief Inspector Macleod, as well as investment in CCTV.
He said partnerships with agencies like Women’s Aid continues to be vital in helping to tackle the ongoing problem of domestic abuse in the islands and encouraging victims to report offences.
The figures also show a reduction in the number of stop and searches which uncovered drug possession, as well as detection of drug dealing. But the Chief Inspector said there is still a focus on tackling the supply and misuse of drugs in the islands.