Police in Fife have been reflecting on another mixed picture following the publication of crime statistics covering the past year.
The latest management information covering the period April 2017 to March 2018 has highlighted welcome falls in relation to crimes of violence, housebreaking, anti-social behaviour and road traffic collisions – four areas which were specifically highlighted by communities in a recent survey of people’s priorities.
However, crime has gone up overall by 5.8%, a total of 774 crimes, with rises in sexual crimes, including cyber crime and revenge porn, fraud and shoplifting among those giving officers cause for concern.
Chief Superintendent Colin Gall, divisional commander for Fife, said he was grateful for everyone’s assistance in keeping figures down, taking particular pride in the fact there were 25 fewer homes broken into in the last year – making 283 housebreakings the lowest on record.
“I’m certain that this all-time low is down not only to the hard work of the officers working on Operation Principle, our response to all acquisitive crime, but also to occupants taking steps to keep their property safe,” he said.
“I would urge people not to be complacent – please keep your homes, sheds and garages and other outbuildings secure and don’t make it easy for a thief to sneak in.
In Fife there has been a drop of 2.6% in overall violent crime; 8% fewer domestic housebreakings; 574 fewer anti-social behaviour incidents, a 2% decrease; and 124 fewer people injured on Fife’s roads, a reduction of 23%.
Overall violence, from murder at its most severe to minor assault, is down by 124 offences, and detection rates for the most serious offences are at almost their highest ever as 94% of serious assaults and 96% of robberies saw someone charged.
Often linked to anti-social behaviour is drug misuse and through Operation Prospect there has been a big increase in drug offences, up 114 crimes or 12%, which police put down to information received from the public and partners and police proactivity in addressing these issues.
Police in Fife also dealt with 358 more missing person inquiries, up 8.1% in comparison to the same period last year.
Mr Gall explained: “Within Fife we hold detailed records of all reported missing people. Divisional information shows that 47 people were recorded missing on more than 10 occasions in Fife during the past year.
“This has clearly resulted in a significant number of missing person concerns.
“In response to this, Fife Division has conducted a review of our management and co-ordination of missing persons, leading to the appointment of a missing person operational co-ordinator and the creation of the divisional improvement plan.”
Mr Gall said increases in sexual crimes appeared to demonstrate the confidence of victims in coming forward, although he acknowledged more work needs to be done to tackle fraud and shoplifting increases.
“Shoplifting numbers have risen sharply and we have put in place an action plan working closely with retailers in key locations and targeting repeat offenders,” he said.
“We understand though that shoplifting is frequently due to financial hardship or funding a drugs habit, and we are committed to helping people who need support to choose other options other than theft by working with our partners in areas such as housing, health and social care and various charity organisations.”