Violence behind closed doors

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Fife’s police chief insists an increase in crimes of violence is down to an on-going commitment to make the Kingdom even safer.

A 22 per cent rise in crimes of violence from April to September 2013, compared to the same period last year, has been put down to increased efforts to tackle domestic abuse.

Reported incidents of domestic abuse, and associated crimes and offences, were up over the three-month period, totalling 2113 cases, a rise of 88 per cent compared to last year.

But Chief Superintendent Garry McEwan said this increase had been anticipated.

He said: “A number of these crimes are historical in nature, some dating as far back as 1999, and were brought to light due to new proactive investigative measures being implemented locally.

“It is also extremely important to note 91 per cent of the incidents concerned were detected by Police Scotland.”

He acknowledged the increase in violent crimes, if read in isolation, could be deemed concerning, but insisted that when placed in the overall context of policing in Fife they demonstrated a clear and on-going commitment to keeping people safe.

Chief Supt McEwan said: “The key message is violence on our streets has reduced by 15 per cent, but where an increase can be seen is behind closed doors, in a domestic or residential setting. Serious assaults have reduced by 20 per cent, with all but three of the recorded 73 charges being detected.

“It is noticeable that violence is reducing in the streets and other public places and is a likely consequence of the continued focus by local officers on hot-spot areas, along with the targeted deployment of additional police personnel through the on-going Campaign Against Violence.”

He also explained a 533 per cent rise in stop and searches, saying they were targeted against known offenders.

“Almost one in four of these searches resulted in the detection of articles that should not have been carried in a public place, including vicious bladed weapons and other blunt instruments designed or intended for the sole purpose of causing injury,” he said.

“Quantities of drugs and alcohol have also been seized during these searches.”