Sexual crimes among those increasing in Fife

editorial image

Crime rates in Fife have risen, but incidents of violence, housebreaking, antisocial behaviour and road traffic collisions are down, according to Police Scotland.

However, there has been a sharp increase in the number of missing person inquiries and sexual crimes.

The latest Management Information has been released today by Police Scotland, covering the period April 2017 to March 2018.

And police say Fife has seen a 2.6% in overall violent crime; 8% fewer domestic housebreakings; 574 less antisocial behaviour incidents; and 124 fewer people injured on our roads – a reduction of 23%.

Divisional Commander for Fife, Chief Superintendent Colin Gall, said: “I’m delighted to report decreases in all these areas, which are ones that our communities across the Kingdom tell us they are particularly concerned about. We have ongoing policing operations related to these issues so we can continue to push the figures down further during the next 12 months.”

There have been 25 fewer homes broken into in the last year, making 283 housebreakings the lowest on record for Fife.

CS Gall is grateful for everyone’s assistance in keeping the figures down: “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. 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. The sun is continuing to shine and it’s easy to leave the car windows open or your tools on the lawn – taking a couple of seconds to lock up and lock away could stop that offender in their tracks.”

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.

And 94% of serious assaults and 96% of robberies saw someone charged. CS Gall says Operation Path has helped to achieve this: “We have concentrated our efforts on intelligence and analysis to build a picture of offending to be able to target those most likely to offend and make sure we have the evidence to place them before the courts.”

However, Fife Division dealt with 358 more missing person inquiries, up 8.1% in comparison to the same period last year.

CS Gall added: “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.

“The recently formed Missing Person and Human Trafficking Partnership Group ensures a multi-agency approach is taken in respect of missing persons with an emphasis focusing on prevention and early intervention, particularly concerning children and young people.”

Overall in Fife crime has risen, by 5.8% that’s 774 crimes. Police say increases in sexual crimes are encouraging as they demonstrate confidence in victims coming forward, and there are also charges brought in the new category of Threatening/Disclosure of Intimate Image – or revenge porn – as well as higher levels of indecent images and communications offences reflecting the rise in cybercrime.

More concerning is the rise in fraud and shoplifting, but CS Gall is confident in the efforts already being made to tackle these.

He said: “Fraud offences are rising across the board as scammers get more sophisticated. Our ongoing Operation Monarda campaign is this year not just reminding us to look out for elderly or vulnerable friends and relatives, but for ourselves too – fraudsters will try and take from anyone they can. I would urge everyone to think twice before they speak to a cold caller, whether at their door or by telephone, and if an emailed offer looks too good to be true, it probably is.

“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. 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.

“Notwithstanding these successes, our officers, staff and I are committed to Keeping the Kingdom Safe. We will continue to seek innovative solutions to local issues, in conjunction with Community Safety Partners and local communities, supported where necessary by the expertise we are able to call upon through Police Scotland’s regional and national resources.”