Violence hits four year peak – but thugs will be caught, says police chief
Violent crime in Shetland hit a four year peak in July last year.
With 20 reported incidents the height of summer proved to be the worst month for violence since April 2009.
Police say acts of violence have gone up from 101 to 123 in the last year, even though crime overall has dropped by 16 per cent.
The news follows fears expressed last week by sheriff Philip Mann that more people may be seriously hurt by violent “thuggery” in the town.
Area commander for Shetland, chief inspector Angus MacInnes, said he agreed with the sheriff’s comments.
He insisted Shetland was still a safe place to live, but warned people can expect to land in the cells if they do cause trouble.
“July last year was the most violent month in Shetland since April 2009.
“Shetland is a really safe place with a 74 or 75 per cent detection rate. We are the quietest area command in the force just now. Probably the safest place to live, but the one thing going against the trend is violence, particularly in and around licensed premises,” he said.
“Overall crime in Shetland is down by 16 per cent. The detection rate is up by four per cent, but there has been an increase in incidents in violence by 22 per cent.
“In relation to that type of crime we detect between 92 and 95 per cent of it. So, chances are, if you go and carry out that kind of violence we are going to find out who you are and you’ll go through the justice process and go to court for it.
“No one’s saying don’t go out, but when you go out and are having fun, make sure that a good time for all doesn’t turn into you spoiling somebody’s night, by punching or kicking them.”
Some good news is that there were very few incidents involving weapons, but Mr MacInnes said people were still too inclined to punch and kick.
“I totally agree with the sheriff that it has to stop. There were 20 incidents of violence in one month which, in Edinburgh or Glasgow or Dundee might not be a lot for a month, but for Shetland that’s a lot compared with what we normally have.”
He added checks on pubs and other licensed premises had increased from 63 last April to 157 in July, before reaching a seasonal peak of 512 in December.
“Over that period violence went from 13 in April, 20 in July, eight in October, nine in November, 13 in December and 12 in January. There’s always a wee spike in December because people who don’t normally go out and drink.”
He advised people to take up competitive sport if they had “steam to let off”.
“Go and have fun but do not spoil somebody else’s night because if you do that we will find out who you are. At the very least you will spend time in a police cell, and you will be liberated on police bail, if not a custody case the next day.”