Police figures reveal spike in number of drug offences detected
More than three-quarters of reported crimes were detected between April and November last year, according to latest police figures.
Chief Inspector Lindsay Tulloch yesterday outlined police performance to councillors at the community and safety resilience board.
The overall detection rate was 76.9 per cent and afterwards, Mr Tulloch said that showed the “continued strong detection rate”.
There was an increase in the number of violent crimes reported, rising from eight last year to nine so far in the latest recording period. However, there has been a corresponding 12.5 per cent improvement in detection rates.
Another area which saw an increase in the number reported offences was “crimes of dishonesty” – 143 last year, to 153 this year to date.
The data also reveals that there has been a leap in the number of detections of “other” crimes, including drug offences and the carrying of offensive weapons. So far this year 216 crimes have been detected, compared to 76 last year – a 184.2 per cent increase.
Mr Tulloch said: “I am very proud to say that the Shetland Isles remains one of the safest places to live in the UK. The percentage increases are indicative of the low crime figures we continue to see here, along with the increase in the number of officers to the area.
“Although we have a slight increase in the number of violent crimes, from eight to nine, our detection rate for this sort of crime stands at 100 per cent.
“The rise in detection rates of Class 5 crimes, which includes that of drug offences, demonstrates my previous commitment to direct resources to disrupt the supply of controlled drugs to the area.
“My hope is that these increased detection rates will provide reassurance to the local community knowing that they can continue to report incidents to their police with the confidence that we are here to help keep people safe.”
Part of the reason for the increase in drug-related detections is linked to the use of sniffer dogs.
Mr Tulloch said: “The ‘Dogs Against Drugs’ charity has proven to be a continued success with 2,460 people scanned at points of entry into Shetland, including ferry ports and Sumburgh Airport which amounts to 219 deployments. Through these deployments, 14 detections have been confirmed, resulting in reports being submitted to the Procurator Fiscal.”
The chief inspector also spoke of an increase in the reporting of domestic abuse cases. That has risen from 82 to 107.
He said: “We believe that this rise is in part due to people’s awareness that crimes of this nature can be reported and will be treated with the utmost care and attention. Since April 2013, Police Scotland has been working hard with local partner agencies to gain the trust of victims of abuse and bring offenders to justice.”
The ‘Dogs Against Drugs’ charity has proven to be a continued success with 2,460 people scanned at points of entry into Shetland, including ferry ports and Sumburgh Airport which amounts to 219 deployments – LINDSAY TULLOCH
Targeting motorists had also been a feature of policing in the isles. Speeding, mobile phone use and driving without seatbelts were all priority across the Highlands and Islands division.
“It is encouraging to see the numbers decreasing in terms of speed but disappointing to see an increase in people using their mobile phones whilst driving and not wearing seatbelts.
“We know that if we can reduce speed, and ensure that people use their seatbelts and avoid the use of mobile phones whilst driving then they are less likely to be involved in a collision.
“As always, we aim to raise awareness of road safety through both national and local initiatives. Driving Ambition is a multi-agency initiative which aims to provide advice for young people thinking about learning to drive and in September and October 2015, S5 and S6 pupils at Anderson High School and Brae High School provided very positive feedback to the scheme.
“Advice has also been provided to motorists who are stopped and challenged about their driving.”
With an eye on preventing future crimes work has been taken place with youngsters across Shetland, both in schools and with the launch of the Police Scotland Youth Volunteers scheme last month.
“The scheme is a great initiative to engage with young people and allow successful volunteers to contribute to their own local communities,” said Mr Tulloch.
“There has also been a range of initiatives taking place in local schools via a working group which has been setup with the Shetland Alcohol and Drugs Partnership, looking to raise awareness and educate young people on the dangers of new psychoactive substances (NPS).”