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Highlands & Islands is one of the safest places to live in Scotland, Police Scotland says after five per cent fall in overall crime

By Philip Murray

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Police Scotland news.
Police Scotland news.

CRIME levels in the Highlands have fallen more than five per cent compared to last year and the region is one of the "safest places in Scotland", according to new police figures.

Police Scotland said that year-end figures highlighted a reduction of more than five per cent in overall crime when compared to the previous year, while the overall detection rate also increased by more than three per cent.

The force added that "further reductions" were recorded in the level of some violent crimes, such as serious and common assaults and robberies. Detection rates for them also went up.

Divisional Commander Chief Superintendent, George Macdonald, said: “This has been another very positive 12 months in terms of overall performance based on reported crime within the Highland and Islands area, where we continue to see a downward trend in many crime types. Our focus and efforts in detecting and ultimately charging those responsible for committing crime also remains very high.

"This is the third successive year that a reduction has also been recorded in significant elements of violent crime, which puts the region in a very strong position nationally in terms of this crime type.

"I have no doubt this is testament to the well-embedded prevent agenda we have in place across the Highlands and Islands, of which strong partnership working and close relationships with our communities is absolutely key.

"I would like to thank the public and the various regional and local partnerships that we work closely with for their support. Behind many crimes are truly difficult and complex issues, which can have a lasting impact on families, victims and our communities.

"These are not matters for police to deal with in isolation and I can assure you that we remain fully committed to keeping our communities safe and will continue in our collaborative efforts to achieve that."

The latest figures came as Police Scotland published its Performance Report, introduced by Deputy Chief Constable Fiona Taylor, and Quarter 4 Management Information figures for 2019/20.

In the Highlands & Islands, an overall reduction was recorded among crimes of dishonesty and offences that include vandalism.

Sixty-nine incidents were also recorded under the new Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Act 2018 which came into effect in April last year. The force said this new law "is making a significant difference" and said that officers were now trained to recognise the range of abusive behaviours, including coercive and controlling

Some 1700 abuse offences were detected across Scotland.

Chief Superintendent Macdonald added: “These are currently unprecedented times for us all however as DCC Taylor said today, Police Scotland is here to help and our priorities are focused on keeping people safe, preventing and detecting crime, supporting vulnerable people by working with our partners and local communities.

"The year-end figures for 2019/20 serve as another benchmark for the year ahead and I thank you again for your continued co-operation and support.”

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