A force to be reckoned with

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FIFE Police is outperforming most other Scottish forces, according to an independent inspection report.

Crime levels are falling and Fife has some of the best detection rates in the country, especially for serious crimes such as murder, attempted murder, serious assault and firearms offences.

And HM Inspectorate of Constabulary for Scotland (HMICS) was also impressed by the way the force is delivering a good level of service to communities in Fife.

Chief Constable Andrew Barker said: “I am delighted that the hard work and professionalism of all the officers and staff is recognised in this Best Value Audit and Inspection report.

“We are committed to ensuring we continue to provide the best services to the people of Fife in the future as part of the national Police Service of Scotland, which is highlighted in this report by our ‘strong commitment to reform’ and ‘exemplary’ governance and project planning arrangements.”

Least expensive

Andrew Laing, Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary, reported Fife Police was performing favourably while being one of the least expensive forces to maintain.

Since 2004/05, a 49 per cent drop in crime had been achieved, compared to the national average of 26 per cent.

The biggest contributors to this downward trend were reductions in fire-raising, vandalism and crimes of dishonesty.

Detection rates were found to be consistently above the national average, with Fife having the best record in Scotland of detecting crimes of violence – an impressive 97 per cent clear-up rate.

The inspector reported a need to take steps to try to reduce domestic abuse, as Fife has one of the highest rates in the country.

There was also concern expressed over hate crimes, which did not appear to have been recorded correctly.

However, Mr Laing was full of praise for police officers on the beat and the way the force used different means of trying to reach out to all communities – an approach which he said was “producing real benefits”.