Alcohol link to Kirkcaldy’s ‘unusually high’ murder rate

Investigating the case of Mikaeel Kular. Pic: George McLuskie
Investigating the case of Mikaeel Kular. Pic: George McLuskie

While violent crime has fallen in Kirkcaldy, the town experienced an “unusually high” murder rate, the latest crime report has shown.

And in all three recorded murders in the town over the past 12 months, alcohol consumption was a “significant factor.”

This was the information given to Kirkcaldy councillors at a meeting of the Kirkcaldy area committee last week by temporary chief inspector Nicola Shepherd.

The chief inspector said the figures gave a five-year average up to the end of February, and reported on the performance of Police Scotland in the Kirkcaldy area at the conclusion of its first year.

The recorded three murders did not include the death of Mikaeel Kular, the three-year-old whose body was discovered in woodland in Kirkcaldy in January, which did not form part of the breakdown.

Each of the three murder cases were dealt with by the recently-formed major investigation team, working out of Kirkcaldy Police Station.

Every one involved people who were known to each other and were committed in houses where they were living, with alcohol involved in all three.

Violent crime saw a decrease of 6.5 per cent based on the five-year average, with the detection rate increasing by 6.5 per cent to 93.8.

Crimes of indecency rose by 52 per cent against the average, a figure not unique to Kirkcaldy but reflected across Fife, with a continuing focus on public protection, leading to a more proactive approach in targeting offenders.

Crimes of dishonesty decreased by 6.4 per cent with the detection rate increasing by 8.1 per cent to 62 per cent, reflecting the prevention work being carried out, while malicious mischief, including vandalism, was down by 42 per cent at 37 per cent.

Crimes involving offensive weapons, possession and supply of drugs were down by 12.7 per cent, with a detection rate of 98.4 per cent, while offences relating to motor vehicles, which had been a focus of police ward plans relating to road safety, saw an 11.3 per cent increase in detections with a 99.7 per cent detection rate.

Commenting on the tragic case of Mikaeel Kular, Councillor Susan Leslie said that, while the investigation had been led by officers from Edinburgh, it had been “really important” that local officers from Kirkcaldy were involved.

“I would like to commend the officers who did a first-class job in what were extremely difficult circumstances,” she said.

She also asked that officers follow up on calls from the public to led people know the outcome of their complaints.