Public confidence in policing increases in Highland and Islands during Covid-19 pandemic

Detection rates and confidence in the police have both increased, but there is concern over rises in anti-social behaviour and fraud.Detection rates and confidence in the police have both increased, but there is concern over rises in anti-social behaviour and fraud.
Detection rates and confidence in the police have both increased, but there is concern over rises in anti-social behaviour and fraud.
Detection rates for crimes in the Highland and Islands increased during the first quarter of 2020-21.

And public confidence in policing has increased by 20 percentage points during the Covid-19 pandemic.

But there are concerns over a rise in fraud crimes – particularly scams around the coronavirus – and there’s been an increase in anti-social behaviour.

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The latest police performance statistics, which cover the period April to June, highlight an increased detection rate of 69.5 per cent compared to 66 per cent during the same period in 2019-20.

Total crime figures have also remained static – 2,182 incidents compared to 2,188 last year – ensuring the region remains one of the safest places in Scotland.

The local figures come as Police Scotland published its leatest Quarterly Performance Report, with a foreword by Deputy Chief Constable Fiona Taylor, showing that public confidence has increased during the pandemic.

Chief Superintendent Conrad Trickett, divisional commander, said: “This reporting period has covered an unprecedented time for Scotland.

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“Therefore it comes as no surprise to see a local rise in some categories, such as anti-social behaviour – 3,150 incidents were reported during the same period last year in comparison to 5,521 this year, of which the majority were linked to calls from the public over suspected breaches of Covid-19 regulations.

“However, as DCC Fiona Taylor has made clear, this has been an extraordinary time therefore care must be taken to avoid assumptions around trends in all categories.

“The rise in fraud crimes – from 70 to 139 – is of great concern as fraudsters adapt well-known techniques to exploit vulnerable people and businesses during a challenging time.

“Online, banking and romance frauds, as well as bogus callers, are still of great concern to Police Scotland, with the addition of scammers now preying on people’s fears about coronavirus.

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“We remain vigilant to these types of despicable crimes and will continue to work alongside our partners and other organisations to provide alerts and publicise preventative messages across our channels and within local communities.

“I ask the public to remain extremely vigilant and keep an eye on those more vulnerable – please visit the Police Scotland website for further information and advice.”

Proactive activity has also been key to ensuring safety on the roads during the various stages of restrictions, with enhanced patrols across the region. While the overall number of driving and vehicle related crimes reduced significantly (2,409 during the same period last year compared to 1,514 this year) drink/drug drive offences increased from 107 to 194 due to the increased use of drug-drive detection kits.

Chief Superintendent Trickett said: “Any offence on our roads is extremely disappointing, particularly at a time when we should all have been playing our part to avoid putting additional pressure on the emergency services.

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“However thanks to proactive patrols and support from the Road Policing Division, Police Scotland has stopped a number of drink/drug drivers and will continue to take this robust action.

“Information from the public is vital to help us target drivers who put others at risk and I encourage people to report such unacceptable driving behaviour to us.”