MSP asks questions after report shows increase in reported incidents
Statistics published in a Scottish Government report which show crime in Fife is on the rise have been branded “unacceptable” by a local MSP.
Claire Baker, Labour MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife, slammed the ‘Recorded Crime In Scotland 2013-14’ report which shows a six per cent increase in recorded crime across the Kingdom - the third biggest increase of any local authority area.
Ms Baker, who had previously expressed concern on the reduction of Fife’s chief inspectors, has written to the new Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Michael Matheson, seeking assurances that steps will be taken to address the rise.
She said: “We must now look beyond these figures and ask why this rise in Fife has taken place.
“With the advent of Police Scotland concerns were raised over the future of local policing and the ability for the new force to respond to local concerns. Questions must now be asked of the new Justice Secretary if the current structure and planning has negatively impacted on local policing, particularly in Fife.
“That is why I will be writing to Mr Matheson to call on him to address these concerns and ensure the resources are available for Police Scotland to effectively deliver a local police strategy that will bring down crime levels in Fife.”
Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser shared Ms Baker’s concerns, adding: “The Scottish Government must realise that their one-size-fits-all approach to law and order is not working in Fife and many other local authorities areas in Scotland.
“A new approach is needed and the Scottish Government must understand that cutting services and officers can only have a detrimental impact on community policing, safety and crime clear-up rates.”
A Scottish Government spokesman said any increase in recorded crime is a concern.
He said: “Police Scotland is better able to focus on delivering a policing strategy which is based on local priorities and allocating resources toward where they are needed most, including addressing any increases in particular crimes.
“Fife, like all local authorities in Scotland, also now have dedicated local officers who are supported whenever and wherever required by specialist expertise and equipment for complex or time-consuming issues.”
Fife shows third highest increase
Despite a one per cent reduction in crime across Scotland as a whole, the report showed that increases were predominatly across the east coast of Scotland.
Fife sat in third place behind Midlothian and Edinburgh City with an eight and 14 rise respectively.
The biggest fall in crime was in Eilean Siar with a massive 30 per cent drop.